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Solis-Soto, Maria Teresa; Patino, Armando; Nowak, Dennis; Radon, Katja: Association between environmental factors and current asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema symptoms in school-aged children from Oropeza Province - Bolivia: a cross-sectional study. In: Environmental Health 2013, 12:95




Background: In recent years, the prevalence of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema symptoms in childhood has considerably increased in developing countries including Bolivia, possibly due to changes in lifestyle, environmental and domestic factors. This study aimed to assess the association between environmental factors and asthma, rhinoconjuctivitis and eczema symptoms in school-aged children from Oropeza Province in Chuquisaca, Bolivia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in 2340 children attending the fifth grade in 36 randomly selected elementary schools in Oropeza province. The prevalence of symptoms was determined using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. Environmental factors were assessed by the ISAAC environmental questionnaire including questions related to exposure to pets, farm animals, indoor and outdoor pollution, presence of disease vectors at home and precarious household conditions. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were adjusted for age, sex and place of living. Results: Thirty seven percent of children reported that at least one of their parents smoked at home. Wood or coal was used as cooking fuel in 19\% of the homes and 29\% reported intense truck traffic on the street where they lived. With respect to hygiene conditions, 86\% reported exposure to dogs, 59\% exposure to cats and 36\% regular contact to farm animals. More than one precarious household condition was reported by 8\% of children. In the adjusted model exposure to dog (adjusted OR 1.4; CI 95\% 1.0-1.9), cat (1.2; 1.0-1.5), farm animals (1.5; 1.2-1.8); intense truck traffic (1.3; 1.0-1.6), parents smoking at home (1.2; 1.0-1.5), presence of disease vectors at home (fourth quartile vs. first quartile: 1.6; 1.2-2.3) and two or more precarious household conditions (1.5; 1.0-2.2) were significantly associated with rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms. The associations were similar for asthma and eczema symptoms; however it did not reach the level of statistical significance for all items. Conclusion: Our results support previous findings reported for poor communities especially in Latin America, showing that lower hygiene conditions did not have protective effect against asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema symptoms.