Validation of a rhinitis symptom questionnaire (ISAAC core questions) in a population of Swiss school children visiting the school health services. SCARPOL-team. Swiss Study on Childhood Allergy and Respiratory Symptom with respect to Air Pollution and Climate. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood.

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (Impact Factor: 3.86). 06/1997; 8(2):75-82.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The primary aim of the study was to assess the validity of the ISAAC core questions on rhinitis in a population of Swiss school children by comparing them to skin prick test results. Second, the positive predictive value in detecting atopy among children with rhinitis symptoms was determined. Third, agreement between parental reports of hay fever and rhinitis symptoms was evaluated, since earlier Swiss prevalence surveys had exclusively relied on reported hay fever.
Two thousand nine hundred and fifty-four (81.2%) parents of 7, 10 and 14-year old children filled in an exhaustive questionnaire which included the ISAAC core questions on rhinitis. Two thousand one hundred and twenty children also underwent skin prick testing against six common aeroallergens (grass mixture, birch, mugwort, D. pteronyssinus, cat and dog dander). The analysis is restricted to children with both questionnaire data and skin prick test results.
Sensitization to any allergen was most strongly associated with reported hay fever (OR = 5.7, 95% CI 4.4-7.4), nose problems accompanied by itchy-watery eyes (OR = 4.4, 95% CI: 3.3-5.7), symptoms occurring only during pollen season (March through September) (OR = 4.9, 95% CI: 3.6-6.5) and a combination of these latter two symptoms (OR = 5.8, 95% CI: 4.1-8.1). The association was stronger for a sensitization to outdoor allergens than for indoor allergens. The specificity of the various questions was high, ranging from 77.5% to 97.6%, but the sensitivity was low (2.6% to 42.7%). The positive predictive value for atopy among children with symptoms was 63% for sneezing accompanied by itchy-watery eyes, 67% for symptoms occurring only during the pollen season and 70% for reported hay fever. However, agreement between reported rhinitis symptoms and hay fever was only moderate. About one third of the children with symptoms indicative of seasonal rhinitis did not report the label "hay fever".
We conclude from our analyses that the ISAAC core questions on rhinitis are highly specific and therefore useful in excluding atopy. In addition they have a high positive predictive value in detecting atopy among children with symptoms, but they are not helpful for detecting atopy in a general population of children (low sensitivity). To monitor time trends in the prevalence of allergic rhinitis in Switzerland, questions on rhinitis symptoms as well as on the diagnostic label "hay fever" have to be included in a questionnaire because they contain complementary information since under-diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is common.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have suggested an association between maternal vitamin D dietary intake during pregnancy and risk of asthma and allergy in the offspring. However, prospective clinical studies on vitamin D measured in cord blood and development of clinical end-points are sparse.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99856. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the preschool period, allergic rhinitis (AR) is infrequent and thus under-diagnosed. However, recent works have highlighted the occurrence of AR in toddlers although the causes of AR in this young population remain unknown. The objective of this study was to identify determinants of AR in young children with asthma. We carried out a case-control study of 227 children with active asthma and enrolled in the Trousseau Asthma Program. AR and other allergic diseases (asthma, food allergy and eczema) were diagnosed by medical doctors using standardized questionnaires. Parental history of AR and asthma, biological markers of atopy (total IgE, blood eosinophilia, allergic sensitization towards food and aeroallergens) and environmental parameters were also collected. Forty one of the children (18.1%) had AR. By univariate logistic regression analysis, AR was mainly associated with peanut sensitization (OR = 6.75; p = 0.002); food allergy (OR = 4.31; p = 0.026); mold exposure (OR = 3.81 p<0.01) and parental history of AR (OR = 1.42; p = 0.046). Due to the strong link between food allergy and peanut sensitization three models of multivariate logistic regression were performed and confirmed that AR is associated with peanut sensitization but also food allergy and mold exposure. A random forest analysis was also performed to explain AR. The results reinforced the logistic analysis that peanut sensitization and mold exposure were the principal determinants of AR. These results stress the importance of investigating AR in young children with asthma to potentially diagnose a particularly severe allergic asthmatic phenotype. Moreover, these data evoke the hypothesis that peanut could be an aeroallergen.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e97236. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rhinitis and conjunctivitis are common diseases worldwide that are frequently associated. Nevertheless, the risk factors for rhinoconjunctivitis are not well-described and the impact of conjunctivitis on rhinitis and asthma in children remains unknown. This study explored the different risk factors and evaluated the burden of rhinoconjunctivitis among adolescents. This was a cross-sectional study conducted on a random sample of schoolchildren, aged 10-17 years, using skin prick tests and a self-administered questionnaire on respiratory health investigating the impact of rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis on daily activities. A complete evaluation was obtained for 2,150 children. The prevalence of rhinitis alone was 18.2% and rhinitis associated with conjunctivitis was 20.5%. Rhinoconjunctivitis was more frequently associated with females, a parental history of atopy, domestic exposure to mold/dampness, passive smoke exposure, and reported truck traffic in residential streets. Moreover, rhinoconjunctivitis was associated with a higher level of allergic sensitization. The prevalence of current asthma was 1.7% in subjects without rhinitis or rhinoconjunctivitis, 5.1% in rhinitis and 10.7% in rhinoconjunctivitis. In a logistic model, rhinoconjunctivitis yielded a 2-fold risk for current asthma with respect to rhinitis. Subjects with rhinoconjunctivitis had poorer quality of life (QoL); there was an impact on daily activities in 4.6% of rhinitis and 10.7% of rhinoconjunctivitis. Ocular symptoms increase the role of rhinitis as a risk factor for asthma and its impact on daily activities in children.
    Allergy, asthma & immunology research 01/2015; 7(1):44-50. · 3.08 Impact Factor


Available from
May 24, 2014