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Keywords:

  • bronchial asthma;
  • prevalence;
  • schoolchildren;
  • diagnosis

ABSTRACT. The prevalence of asthma among 10527 children aged 7–16 years was investigated in 1985. Children were assigned to the asthma group when replies to a questionnaire stated that at least two of four stipulated symptoms had been experienced in the preceding year. A validation study, comprising exploration of medical history, pulmonary auscultation and physiological tests (spirometry and methacholine inhalation challenge) was performed in 73 children. The overall prevalence of asthma was 4%. The most common symptom-inducing factors were physical exertion, upper respiratory tract infection, contact with animals and tobacco smoke. The methacholine test had limited value as a diagnostic aid, being positive in only 25% of children with a clear history of asthma.