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Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1995 Jun;27(6):190-5.

Pets, allergy and respiratory symptoms in children living in a desert country.

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Department of Community Medicine, United Arab Emirates University Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Al-Ain.


The aim of this paper was to study the effect of pets and other domestic animals effect on allergic respiratory symptoms among United Arab Emirates primary school children. A cross-sectional survey of 2200 school children living in both urban and rural areas was conducted using self-administered questionnaires between November 1993 and June 1994. The age range of the children studied was 6-12 years, with a mean of 9.23 and standard deviation of 2.14 years; 51% were girls and 49% were boys. Pet ownership was defined by the presence of birds, cats, camels, dogs, goats, poultry and rabbits in the home. One thousand and thirty-six (1036/2090 = 49.6%) of the 2090 families studied had at least one animal at home. However, respiratory symptoms, pet allergy, chronic cough, chronic wheeze, breathlessness or chest tightness, doctor-diagnosed asthma, rhinitis and eczema was reported by 633 families (30.3%) from 2090 studied families. The highest prevalence of reported respiratory allergy and symptoms was found in children who had pets in the past and currently. The lowest prevalence of reported respiratory allergy and symptoms was found in children who never had pets in their lives. Past pets ownership was generally associated with a higher prevalence of pets allergy and respiratory symptoms. No less than 218 (10.4%) reported removing pets in the past because of an allergy or other health problems in the child or in other family members. The risk of having pet allergy in children with animals was found to be twice than that of children without (RR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.53-2.97; p < 0.0001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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