Prevalence of asthma and underlying risk factors in two Peruvian cities
Asthma was previously considered to be uncommon in Latin America; however, recent studies in different Latin American cities have identified that its prevalence currently ranges between 18% and 27%. These estimates are very high when compared with those reported in other developing countries and are comparable to those in many developed countries. At 21% to 27%, Peru has the highest prevalence of asthma in Latin America and one of the highest worldwide. However, studies reported in the literature were conducted only in the city of Lima and it is unclear if these rates are representative of Peru as a whole. We hypothesize that individuals living in Lima have unique environmental exposures, genetic predispositions, or both that are associated with an increased prevalence of asthma. We plan to conduct an observational study of 1,400 children aged 13 to 15 years in two Peruvian cities, Lima and Tumbes, to determine if there are differences in the prevalence and severity of asthma and if any underlying risk factors can explain these differences. We will assess the prevalence of asthma through a standard questionnaire, spirometry and exercise challenge. We will ask about potential environmental exposures, dietary factors, collect blood for genetic analysis and measurement of total IgE, and perform skin allergen testing. Finally, we will perform measurements of indoor and outdoor particulate matter in 10% of households. This award will help to support pilot studies on genetic analysis, collection of environmental data and laboratory measurement of total IgE in our study populations.