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Ethiop Med J. 1999 Oct;37(4):247-54.

Prevalence of wheeze and asthma related symptoms among school children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University.


This survey was conducted as part of the international multi-centre study to determine the prevalence of wheeze and asthma-related symptoms among school children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was conducted in June 1995. A standardized self-administered questionnaire developed by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children (ISAAC) was used. The questionnaire was designed to offer a standardized epidemiological instrument to ensure comparison of results from wide range of countries. A total of 2951 children aged 13 and 14 years were enrolled into the study, of which 1393 (47.2%) were males and 1558 (52.8%) were females. Five hundred fifty seven children (18.2%) reported that they have had wheezing at least once in the last 12 months while only 84 children (2.8%) reported to have "Bronchial Asthma". One hundred eighty eight (6.4%) and 214 (7.3%) children reported sleep disturbance and limitation of speech associated with attacks, respectively. Nocturnal cough was reported by 805 (27.3%) children. Eight hundred two (27.2%) children reported exercise-induced wheeze. This study revealed that the prevalence of wheeze and other asthma related symptoms to be fairly high among school children of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Moreover, the majority of these children do not seem to know their problems and therefore, remain untreated. Further studies are recommended to precisely determine the prevalence of wheeze and asthma using more objective methods such as bronchial hyper-responsiveness test.

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