In a study designed to throw light on the natural history of asthma in Ethiopia, 91 patients living at 2500 metres and attending asthma clinics in Addis Ababa underwent spirometric and skinprick testing. Only eight had had symptoms of asthma before the age of 16. Sixty two had a history of allergic rhinitis and 16 had a family history of allergic rhinitis; 33 had a family history of asthma. In 30 cases asthma was worse from August to October. All patients had tried traditional remedies, usually without success; and all took modern drugs, oral combination bronchodilators being the most frequently used.