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S Afr Med J. 2001 Aug;91(8):667-72.

Increase in childhood asthma admissions in an urbanising population.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Medical University of Southern Africa, PO Box 168, Medunsa, 0204.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In South Africa, rapid urbanisation has increased the risk of childhood asthma. This report reviews the pattern of asthma admissions to the Paediatric Department of Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, South Africa, from 1986 to 1996.

DESIGN:

Inpatient admission data were reviewed for 1986-1996. A detailed analysis of the records of asthma patients admitted between 1992 and 1996 was done. Outpatient data were reviewed from 1992.

SETTING:

Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, situated on the border of the Gauteng and North West provinces of South Africa and serving a large black population in various stages of urbanisation.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Trends in admission numbers and demographic characteristics.

RESULTS:

Asthma admissions were 2.5 times higher in 1996 than 1986. The greatest increase in admissions was in the 1-47-month age group. The male to female ratio was 1.5:1. More patients came from urban than from rural areas. Admissions peaked during the summer. Re-admissions occurred most frequently within 3 months of the first admission.

CONCLUSION:

Paediatric asthma admissions have shown an increase in the past decade. This may be associated with changes in the environment of the community. There is a need for preventive programmes for asthma at community and national level.

PMID:
11584782
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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