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1.  Changing Prevalence of Allergic Diseases in the Asia-Pacific Region 
Asia-Pacific is one of the most densely populated regions of the world and is experiencing rapid economic changes and urbanization. Environmental pollution is a significant problem associated with the rapid modernization of many cities in South Asia. It is not surprising that the prevalences of asthma and allergies are increasing rapidly, although the underlying reasons remain largely unknown. Many studies from this region have documented the changing prevalence of allergic diseases in various parts of the world. However, the methodologies used were neither standardized nor validated, making the results difficult to evaluate. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) has provided a global epidemiology map of asthma and allergic diseases, as well as the trend of changes in the prevalence of these diseases. Allergic sensitization is extremely common in many Asian communities. However, the prevalence of allergic diseases remains relatively rare. The rapid urbanization in the region, which increases environmental pollution and can affect the rural environment, will likely increase the prevalence of asthma and allergies in Asia.
doi:10.4168/aair.2013.5.5.251
PMCID: PMC3756171  PMID: 24003381
Asthma; allergies; Asia; pollution; International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood
2.  Epidemiology and Clinical Presentations of Human Coronavirus NL63 Infections in Hong Kong Children▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(11):3486-3492.
Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) has been found in children presenting with respiratory tract infections (RTIs). However, the epidemiology and clinical course of this newly identified virus have not been fully elucidated. This study investigated the epidemiology, seasonality, and clinical features of HCoV-NL63 in Hong Kong children. This study consisted of two cohorts of children hospitalized in a university-affiliated teaching hospital. In the 12-month retrospective part of the study, reverse transcription-PCR was used to detect HCoVs in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs). Positive samples were sequenced to confirm the identity of the virus and to determine its phylogenetic relationship with the HCoV-NL63 strains found elsewhere. The second part covered a subsequent 12-month period in which patients were prospectively recruited. Altogether, 1,981 and 1,001 NPA specimens were studied in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, respectively. Seventy-four (2.5%) HCoV isolates were identified and consisted of 17 (0.6%) HCoV-NL63 isolates, 37 (1.2%) HCoV-OC43 isolates, 14 (0.5%) HCoV-HKU1 isolates, and 6 (0.2%) HCoV-229E isolates. HCoV-NL63 infection was more common in 2006-2007 than 2005-2006 (1.2% and 0.3%, respectively; P = 0.006). From 2005 to 2007, the peak season for HCoV-NL63 infection was in September-October, which was earlier than the peak for HCoV-OC43 infections (December-January). HCoV-NL63-infected patients were younger and more likely to have croup, febrile convulsions, and acute gastroenteritis. The majority of local HCoV-NL63 isolates were phylogenetically closely related to those found in Belgium and The Netherlands. In conclusion, HCoV-NL63 is an important yet uncommon virus among our hospitalized children with acute RTIs.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00832-09
PMCID: PMC2772645  PMID: 19759228
3.  Overweight, family history of diabetes and attending schools of lower academic grading are independent predictors for metabolic syndrome in Hong Kong Chinese adolescents 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2006;92(3):224-228.
Background
Overweight and metabolic syndrome (MES) are emerging in both adult and paediatric populations.
Aims
To study the prevalence of and associated risk factors for the MES, using the National Cholesterol Education Program definition, among Hong Kong Chinese adolescents studying in secondary schools.
Methods
This was a cross‐sectional, population‐based study. A sample of 2115 Chinese adolescents was randomly selected from 14 secondary schools throughout Hong Kong. Data on anthropometric parameters, fasting blood and urine samples were collected in the school setting. Information regarding the adolescent's family history of diabetes, perinatal history, socioeconomic status and school grading was evaluated.
Results
The prevalence of MES was 2.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8 to 3.1), with no significant difference between boys (2.9%) and girls (2%). The prevalence of various components of MES was 32.2% (30.2 to 34.2) for hypertension, 10.9% (9.6 to 12.2) for increased triglyceride, 9.0% (7.8 to 10.2) for central adiposity, 2.4% (1.7 to 3) for low high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol and 0.3% (0.1 to 0.6) for impaired fasting glucose. On multivariate analysis, overweight (odds ratio 32.2; 95% CI 13.2 to 78.4), positive family history of diabetes (4.3; 1.3 to 14.1) and studying at schools of lower academic grading (5.5; 2.2 to 13.7) were found to be independent risk factors for MES.
Conclusion
A comparable prevalence of MES (2%) is observed in our study group Chinese adolescent girls and in US girls (2.1%), but a lower prevalence in Chinese boys (2.9%) than in US boys (6.1%). In our study, 41.8% harbour at least one component of the syndrome. Both families and schools should be alerted to this growing epidemic.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.100453
PMCID: PMC2083404  PMID: 17088339
4.  Prevalence of asthma among Chinese adolescents living in Canada and in China 
Background
Studies of the prevalence of asthma among migrating populations may help in identifying environmental risk factors.
Methods
We analyzed data from Vancouver, Canada, and from Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, China, collected during phase 3 of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. We subdivided the Vancouver adolescents according to whether they were Chinese immigrants to Canada, Canadian-born Chinese or Canadian-born non-Chinese. We compared the prevalence of asthma and wheezing among Chinese adolescents born in Canada, Chinese adolescents who had immigrated to Canada and Chinese adolescents living in China.
Results
Of 7794 Chinese adolescents who met the inclusion criteria, 3058 were from Guangzhou, 2824 were from Beijing, and 1912 were from Hong Kong. Of 2235 adolescents in Vancouver, Canada, 475 were Chinese immigrants, 617 were Canadian-born Chinese, and 1143 were Canadian-born non-Chinese. The prevalence of current wheezing among boys ranged from 5.9% in Guangzhou to 11.2% in Canadian-born Chinese adolescents. For girls, the range was 4.3% in Guangzhou to 9.8% in Canadian-born Chinese adolescents. The prevalence of ever having had asthma ranged from 6.6% to 16.6% for boys and from 2.9% to 15.0% for girls. Prevalence gradients persisted after adjustment for other environmental variables (odds ratios for ever having had asthma among Canadian-born Chinese compared with native Chinese in Guangzhou: 2.72 [95% confidence interval 1.75–4.23] for boys and 5.50 [95% confidence interval 3.21–9.44] for girls; p < 0.001 for both). Among Chinese adolescents living in Vancouver, the prevalence of ever wheezing increased with duration of residence, from 14.5% among those living in Canada for less than 7 years to 20.9% among those living their entire life in Canada. The same pattern was observed for the prevalence of ever having had asthma, from 7.7% to 15.9%.
Interpretation
Asthma symptoms in Chinese adolescents were lowest among residents of mainland China, were greater for those in Hong Kong and those who had immigrated to Canada, and were highest among those born in Canada. These findings suggest that environmental factors and duration of exposure influence asthma prevalence.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.071797
PMCID: PMC2582762  PMID: 19015564
5.  Factors associated with difference in prevalence of asthma in children from three cities in China: multicentre epidemiological survey  
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7464):486.
Objective To determine the factors associated with difference in prevalence of asthma in children in different regions of China.
Design Multicentre epidemiological survey.
Setting Three cities in China.
Participants 10 902 schoolchildren aged 10 years.
Main outcome measures Asthma and atopic symptoms, atopic sensitisation, and early and current exposure to environmental factors.
Results Children from Hong Kong had a significantly higher prevalence of wheeze in the past year than those from Guangzhou and Beijing (odds ratio 1.64, 95% confidence interval 1.35 to 1.99). Factors during the first year of life and currently that were significantly associated with wheeze were cooking with gas (odds ratio 2.04, 1.34 to 3.13), foam pillows (2.58, 1.66 to 3.99), and damp housing (1.89, 1.26 to 2.83). Factors protecting against wheeze were cotton quilts and the consumption of fruit and raw vegetables.
Conclusion Environmental factors and diet may explain the differences in prevalence of asthma between children living in different regions of China.
PMCID: PMC515199  PMID: 15331473

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