Asthma mortality in Latin America

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. Jul-Aug 1997;7(4):249-53.


There are not enough data concerning asthma mortality in Latin America. The Latin American Society of Allergy and Immunology coordinated this project to provide reliable data for gaining knowledge about our present situation, which is a condition indispensable to changing it. The following countries participated in this study: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. A uniform protocol was designed in Santa Fe, Argentina. Asthma mortality rates were analyzed in accordance with two variables: age-adjusted rates (5-34) and total death rates. The total population studied was 107, 122, 529 inhabitants. The highest death rates were found in Uruguay and Mexico (5.63), and the lowest in Paraguay (0.8) and Colombia (1.35). Age-adjusted (5-34) rates were higher in Costa Rica (1.38) and lower in Chile (0.28). Regarding sex, the analysis of the information provided by seven countries showed a predominance of females (51.8%) over males (48.18%). In the southern Latin American countries such as Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, which have marked climatic differences, deaths occurred mainly in the winter. It is important to emphasize that, in most countries, deaths from asthma occurred at home: Chile (60.7%), Argentina (63.4%) and Paraguay (88%). However, in Uruguay, 58.6% occurred during hospitalization. Mortality rates from bronchial asthma are high in most of the Latin American countries studied, even though further studies are needed. Asthma is a serious global health problem. People of all ages in countries throughout the world are affected by this chronic airway disorder that can be severe and sometimes fatal. The health ministries of each country do not believe asthma is a significant issue. Therefore, we should provide them with sound epidemiological studies to convince them to change their attitude toward this disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asthma / mortality*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors