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Clinical problems in childhood

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G. Malik, N. Tagiyeva, G. McNeill, S. Turner. University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

Introduction The Aberdeen Schools Asthma Surveys (ASAS) have described changing prevalences of childhood asthma from 1964. The ASASs were among the first to report a rise in asthma prevalence in the UK and westernised countries during the 1980s and 1990s. A history of asthma ever was reported in 4% of children in 1964, rising to 24% in 1999 and 28% in 2004, although the prevalence of wheeze in the last 3 years fell from 28% to 25% between 1999 and 2004. A history of wheezy bronchitis remained static at ∼7% between 1964 and 2004. The present study tested the hypothesis that the prevalence of asthma fell between 2004 and 2009 and the prevalence of wheezy bronchitis remained unchanged.

Methods Schools within the 1964 boundaries of Aberdeen city were invited to participate. Children in primary years 3–7 were eligible (ages 7–12 years). The questionnaire used and validated in previous surveys was distributed to children by teaching staff, completed by parents at home, returned to the classroom and collected by researchers. Wheezy bronchitis was defined as the presence of wheeze only in association with an upper respiratory tract infection.

Results Thirty-one schools were invited to participate, of which 26 took part. There were 3709 eligible children and 1988 (54%) questionnaires returned. The mean age was 9.8 (SD 1.5) years and 958 (48%) were boys. A history of asthma ever was reported in 21% children (381/1811), and wheeze in the last 3 years was reported in 22% (432/1975). A history of wheezy bronchitis was reported in 5% (107/1988) of the children.

Conclusions The proportion of children with a history of asthma ever, wheeze in the last 3 years and wheezy bronchitis fell in Aberdeen between 2004 and 2009. The reasons …

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