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Vol. 149, No. 1, 2009
Issue release date: April 2009
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2009;149:47–57

Prevalence of Self-Reported Allergic Rhinitis in Eleven Major Cities in China

Zhang L. · Han D. · Huang D. · Wu Y. · Dong Z. · Xu G. · Kong W. · Bachert C.
aKey Laboratory of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Institute of Otorhinolaryngology, Ministry of Education; bDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Affiliated with the Capital Medical University, and cDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing; dDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun; eHospital of Otolaryngology, Institute and First Affiliated Hospital of the Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, and fDepartment of Otolaryngology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; gDepartment of Otorhinolaryngology, Upper Airway Research Laboratory, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

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Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common disease and its prevalence is increasing worldwide. Data on the current prevalence of AR in China, one of the biggest countries in the world, with a population of around 1.3 billion citizens, are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported AR in Chinese citizens. Methods: In a cross-sectional, population-based study, telephone interviews were conducted in 11 major cities in China after sampling target telephone numbers through the approach of random digital dialing. The questions for the telephone interviews were based on validated questionnaires. Results: A total of 38,203 telephone interviews were conducted from September 2004 to May 2005. The response rate was 63.7%. After adjustment for age and gender, the self-reported prevalence of AR was lowest in Beijing (8.7%) and highest in Urumqi (24.1%). Among the subjects with self-reported AR, 25.6% were diagnosed with persistent AR and 74.4% suffered from intermittent AR. Less than half of the subjects with self-reported AR had presented at a health clinic. In 37.3% AR had previously been diagnosed by physicians, and 33.1% of subjects with self-reported AR had been treated. Comorbidities reported were asthma (9.2%), rhinosinusitis (13.3%) and atopic dermatitis (16.4%). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the self-reported prevalence of AR in 11 cities across Mainland China has wide variations, ranging from <10% to >20%; 26% of the self-reported AR subjects were classified as suffering from persistent AR.

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