Atopic dermatitis in Tunisian schoolchildren
Introduction: The prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD) is low in North Africa. We describe the epidemiology of this atopic condition among school children in Tunisia. Methods: We conducted a Cross-sectional survey study of 5 to 6-year-old schoolchildren from 21 primary schools of Sfax. The diagnosis of AD was based on the U.K. Working Party diagnostic criteria. A questionnaire including these criteria and some risk factors of AD was issued to the children. All children were examined by one dermatologist. Results: Among the 1617 examined children, ten had AD giving a oneyear prevalence of 0.65%. The overall sex ratio was 2.33. The disease occurred before the age of 2 years in 3 children. Pure AD without concomitant respiratory allergies was noted in 3 cases. One first-degree family member with atopy was at least noted in seven children. The strongest associated factor was the presence of AD in at least one parent and maternal age at the time of the child birth. Nor breast-feeding neither environmental characteristics of the house did correlate with AD. Conclusion: The prevalence of AD in Tunisian schoolchildren is low but comparable to those of other developing countries. Family history of atopy and maternal age at the birth time was the most important associated factors.
Key words: Atopic dermatitis, atopy, children, epidemiology, prevalence, Tunisia