PREVALENCE AND DETERMINANTS OF ATOPY AMONG SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN IN RURAL SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA
Background & Objectives: There has been few investigation of the association between the farming related activities or specific characteristics and atopic disease in rural Canadian children. In population-based studies, assuring the quality of information from questionnaires is of concern. We conducted this study in order to: first, identify the prevalence and risk factors of atopy and allergic conditions among school-age children in a rural region of Canada. Also, we sought to evaluate the validity and reliability of a questionnaire report of allergy to assess in this population. Methods: As part of a longitudinal study of lung health in rural residents, we conducted a cross-sectional baseline study in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. This included an initial survey phase followed by a clinical testing phase. A sub-sample of 584 children (grades 1-8) completed skin prick testing to assess atopic status. Of these, 480 children completed a questionnaire report of allergy and atopic outcomes and participated in skin prick testing (SPT). Atopy was defined as a positive reaction to any of 6 allergens (local grasses, wheat dust, cat dander, house dust mite, Alternaria, Clasdosporium)≥3mm compared to the negative control. Agreement between questionnaire report and objective measures of atopy was considered overall and between the specific allergens tested on SPT and those assessed on questionnaire. We considered percent concordance, Kappa, sensitivity, specificity, and the positive and negative predictive values of reported allergies or allergic conditions in comparison to SPT as the gold standard. Results: The prevalence of atopy as well as allergen-specific sensitizations was similar between farm and non-farm children but supported the notion that livestock farming is protective against atopy. Also, we found that 25.0% of children reported a history of allergic conditions by questionnaire and 19.4% were atopic detected by skin pick test. In our study, the agreement between questionnaire report of specific allergic triggers and atopy measured by SPT was high (83.0% - 89.5%). Conclusion: In children, livestock exposure has a protective effect on SPT positivity.The agreement between questionnaire report of allergic symptoms and atopy measured by SPT was high and the agreement between atopy and report of allergic conditions was moderate.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentCommunity Health and Epidemiology
ProgramCommunity and Population Health Science
SupervisorLawson, Joshua A.
CommitteeRennie, Donna C.; Cockcroft, Don; Bharadwaj, Lalita; Abonyi, Sylvia
Copyright DateAugust 2014
atopy, children, farming exposures, allergic diseases, hay fever, agreement, rural, allergy, spin prick testing, sensitivity and specificity, predictive value