High prevalence of allergy in north cypriot children
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Background: The ISAAC (the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) questionnaire has been used to standardize research on the prevalence of asthma in children since 1991. Aim: In this Phase I study, the prevalence of asthma, other allergic diseases and atopy was evaluated in North Cyprus. Methods: The ISAAC questionnaire was distributed to grades I-V schoolchildren. Data were obtained from parents of 580 schoolchildren aged between 7 and 12 years attending a primary school in Nicosia, the capital of North Cyprus. Of those, a sub-group of 97 (16.7%) randomly selected children were evaluated by skin prick test (SPT) and lung function test (LFT). Results: The prevalence rates of asthma ever, current wheezing and SPT-positivity were 20.8%, 10% and 68%, respectively. The prevalence of atopy was significantly higher in the randomly selected subgroup of 97 (68%) patients subjected to SPT and LFT, and the house dust mite (HDM) was the allergen to which children were most frequently sensitized. Conclusions: In northern Cyprus, the prevalence rates of asthma, allergic diseases and atopic sensitization in 7-12-year-old children are extremely high. Sensitization to HDM is a risk factor for the development of asthma. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2014.