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

East Afr Med J. 1996 Jul;73(7):474-8.


Three thousand and eighteen children aged 13-14 years were studied using a standard questionnaire developed and field tested by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children(ISAAC) steering committee between January and April 1995 to establish the prevalence and severity of asthma, rhinitis and eczema. 58 rural primary schools were randomly selected from which 3018 children filled out the written (WQ) and the video (VQ)questionnaires. There were 1471 (48.7%) males and 1547 (51.3%) females. On the written questionnaire the cumulative prevalence for wheezing, rhinitis, itchy eyes and skin rashes was 21.2%, 32.4%, 11.8% and 23.8% respectively, with respective 12 month period prevalence rates of 10.2%, 25.3% and 14.4% for wheezing, rhinitis and itchy rashes. On the video questionnaire the cumulative prevalence rates were 11.4%, 12.3%, 5.0%, 16.3% and 3.6% for wheezing, exercise induced wheezing, nocturnal wheezing, nocturnal cough and difficulty in breathing associated with wheezing respectively. The video questionnaire prevalence rates are lower than those of the written questionnaire possibly due to difficulties the children encountered in correlating the symptoms and the disease. The prevalence of severe symptoms for rhinitis, eczema and wheezing of 10.1%, 6.8% and 5.8% respectively are lower than those reported for developed countries. These results compare with those of a previous study in Estonia using the same ISAAC questionnaire and support the hypothesis that although the prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases are on the increase worldwide, it is more so in the developed than the developing countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermatitis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology*
  • Rural Health
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires