• Vol. 33 No. 1, 71–74
  • 15 January 2004

Familial Risk of Allergic Rhinitis and Atopic Dermatitis among Chinese Families in Singapore



Introduction: This study aims to determine the familial risk of atopic dermatitis (AD) and allergic rhinitis (AR) in Chinese children.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a housing estate in Singapore. Data was collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Participants included 257 Chinese families. Prevalence rate ratios (PRRs) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated.

Results: For AD in all children, an increasing trend was found with PRRs of 1.9 (95% CI, 0.3 to 11.8) and 1.5 (95% CI, 0.4 to 5.5) for only father and only mother affected, respectively, to 2.3 (95% CI, 0.4 to 13.7) for both parents affected. In AR, a PRR of 2.7 (95% CI, 1.8 to 3.9) and 2.2 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.2) for only father and only mother affected, respectively, and 4.5 (95% CI, 3.3 to 6.1) for both affected was found. The PRR (2.2; 95% CI, 1.4 to 3.7) of the first child developing AR when paternal or maternal history was positive was similar. This rose to 3.4 (95% CI, 2.2 to 5.1) when both parents also had AR. The PRR of the second child developing AR was 3.9 (95% CI, 1.7 to 8.9) when the first child alone was positive for AR and 7.0 (95% CI, 3.5 to 13.9) when both parents and the eldest child had AR.

Conclusion: A positive family history increases the risk of developing AD and AR with increasing risk dependent on number of relatives affected. The second child’s risk of AR is also associated with AR in the first child, suggesting mechanisms of incomplete penetrance.

Family history has been shown to be a risk factor for the development of allergic rhinitis (AR) and atopic dermatitis (AD). However, the increase in prevalence has also been attributed to the changes in lifestyle and urbanisation in developed countries.

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