Prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and dermatitis in primary school children in Uasin Gishu District, Kenya

  • F. Esamai
  • S. Ayaya
  • W. Nyandiko


Objective: to establish the relative increase in the prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in primary school children aged 13-14 years over a six year interval.
Design: Cross sectional comparative study.
Setting: Primary schools in three rural divisions at Uasin Gishu district in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya.
Methods: Three thousand two hundred and fifty eight children aged 13-14 years from seventy two primary schools in Uasin Gishu district were studied using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. All children in the selected schools in this age range whose parents gave consent were included.
Results: There were 47.4% males and 52.6% females as compared to 48.7% and 51.3% respectively in 1995. The cumulative prevalence for wheezing, rhinitis, itchy eyes and dermatitis was 23.6%, 43%, 24.1% and 28.5% respectively which were higher than for 1995 which were 21.2%, 32.4%, 11.8% and 13.8% respectively (p=0.001). The period prevalence rates for wheezing, rhinitis and eczema were 13.8%, 31.4% and 21.3% respectively as compared to 10.2%, 25.3% and 14.4% respectively for 1995 (p=0.001). The prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema was 12.6%, 38.6% and 28.5% respectively in 2001 compared to 6.6%, 14.9% and 13.9% respectively in 1995 (p=0.001).
Conclusion: There was a significant increase in the prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in children in the study population over the last six years.

(East African Medical Journal: 2002 79(10): 514-518)

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