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A comparative study of asthma, pollen, cat and dog allergy among pupils and allergen levels in schools in Taiyuan city, China, and Uppsala, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences.
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2006 (English)In: Indoor Air, ISSN 0905-6947, E-ISSN 1600-0668, Vol. 16, no 6, 404-413 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We compared the school environment, asthma and allergy in 10 schools in Taiyuan, China, with eight schools in Uppsala, Sweden. In total 2193 pupils (mean age 13 years) participated. Chinese pupils had more respiratory symptoms, particularly daytime breathlessness after exercise (29.8% vs. 7.1%; P < 0.001), while cat allergy (1.2% vs. 6.6%; P < 0.001) and dog allergy (1.3% vs. 4.0%; P < 0.01) was less common. Cumulative incidence of asthma (1.8% vs. 9.5%; P < 0.001) and doctor's diagnosed asthma (1.2% vs. 9.0%; P < 0.001) were less common in China, indicating an under-diagnosis of asthma. Chinese classrooms were colder (mean 14.7 vs. 21.4 degrees C), more humid (mean 42% vs. 31% RH) and had higher CO2-levels (mean 2211 vs. 761 ppm). Levels of cat (Fel d1), dog (Can f1) allergens were low in settled dust from China (< 200 ng/g dust), but high in airborne dust on Petri-dishes (GM 16.8 ng/m2/day for Fel d1 and 17.7 for Can f1). The Swedish settled dust contained cat, dog and horse allergens in high levels (median 1300 ng/g, 1650 ng/g, 1250 U/g dust, respectively). In conclusion, there were large differences in the school environment, and in respiratory symptom and allergy. Allergen measurements in settled dust only may largely underestimate the classroom exposure. Practical Implications There is a need to improve the school environment, both in China and Sweden. The Swedish schools contained high levels of cat, dog and horse allergens and more amounts of open shelves and textiles that can accumulate dust and allergens. The air measurements indicated that Chinese schools may contain significant amounts of cat and dog allergen, and analysis of settled dust only may not reflect the true allergen exposure. Since the Chinese schools had no mechanical ventilation, they could not fulfill the ventilation standard in winter, and hence there is a need for improving the ventilation. The great discrepancy between respiratory symptoms and reports on asthma, and the high prevalence of attacks of breathlessness without wheeze, may have implication for future questionnaire studies on asthma in China.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 16, no 6, 404-413 p.
Keyword [en]
allergen, indoor particles, asthma, China, school environment, ventilation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-13514DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2006.00433.xISI: 000241832600002PubMedID: 17100662OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-13514DiVA: diva2:41284
Available from: 2008-01-23 Created: 2008-01-23 Last updated: 2011-05-13Bibliographically approved

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Zhao, ZhuElfman, LenaNorbäck, Dan
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