Asthma and other allergic diseases among Saudi schoolchildren in Najran: the need for a comprehensive intervention program.Ann Saudi Med 2016 Nov-Dec; 36(6):379-385AS
In the last three decades, an increasing incidence of allergic diseases has been associated with increasing morbidity and mortality in children and young adults.
The study aimed to investigate the prevalence and risk factors associated with allergic diseases among Saudi schoolchildren in the southwestern Saudi region of Najran, and to determine the sensitization of patients to a set of allergens.
Cross-sectional observational study.
Primary, intermediate and secondary schools, Najran, Saudi Arabia.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
All participants completed the Arabic version of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. Skin prick tests (SPT) were performed, using a panel of standardized allergenic extracts.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S)
Prevalence and risk factors associated with pediatric allergic diseases.
The study included 1700 Saudi schoolchildren. The overall prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis was 27.5%, 6.3% and 12.5%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that male gender (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.27), fast food consumption (aOR, 1.53), trucks passing near houses (aOR, 1.86), and having a dog or cat at home (aOR, 1.85) were significant risk factors. A total of 722 (42.5%) children had a positive SPT result to at least one allergen. The most prevalent allergens were grass pollens (60%), cat fur (41.6%), and house dust mites (25%).
The findings of this study highlight the urgent need for developing an effective interven- tion program including several components working in harmony to control and reduce the burden of allergic diseases.
These results may not be generalizable to the rest of Saudi Arabia.