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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009;149(1):47-57. doi: 10.1159/000176306. Epub 2008 Nov 26.

Prevalence of self-reported allergic rhinitis in eleven major cities in china.

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Beijing Institute of Otorhinolaryngology, Ministry of Education, China.



Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common disease and its prevalence is increasing worldwide. Data on the current prevalence of AR in China, one of the biggest countries in the world, with a population of around 1.3 billion citizens, are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported AR in Chinese citizens.


In a cross-sectional, population-based study, telephone interviews were conducted in 11 major cities in China after sampling target telephone numbers through the approach of random digital dialing. The questions for the telephone interviews were based on validated questionnaires.


A total of 38,203 telephone interviews were conducted from September 2004 to May 2005. The response rate was 63.7%. After adjustment for age and gender, the self-reported prevalence of AR was lowest in Beijing (8.7%) and highest in Urumqi (24.1%). Among the subjects with self-reported AR, 25.6% were diagnosed with persistent AR and 74.4% suffered from intermittent AR. Less than half of the subjects with self-reported AR had presented at a health clinic. In 37.3% AR had previously been diagnosed by physicians, and 33.1% of subjects with self-reported AR had been treated. Comorbidities reported were asthma (9.2%), rhinosinusitis (13.3%) and atopic dermatitis (16.4%).


This study demonstrates that the self-reported prevalence of AR in 11 cities across Mainland China has wide variations, ranging from <10% to >20%; 26% of the self-reported AR subjects were classified as suffering from persistent AR.

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