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IJERPH, Vol. 13, Pages 704: Temporal and Spatial Trends in Childhood Asthma-Related Hospitalizations in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil and Their Association with Social Vulnerability

12 Jul 2016

Introduction: Asthma is a multifactorial disease and a serious public health problem. Environmental factors and poverty are the main determinants of this disease. Objective: To describe the spatial and temporal distribution of asthma-related hospitalizations and identify the areas with the highest prevalence of and vulnerability to severe asthma in a major Brazilian city. Methods: An ecological study of hospitalizations for asthma from 2002 to 2012, in children and adolescents under 15 years of age, living in Belo Horizonte, Southeast Brazil. All events were geocoded by residence address using Hospital Information System data. The socioeconomic vulnerability of residence address was ranked using the Health Vulnerability Index. Raster surfaces were generated and time-series plots were constructed to determine spatial and time trends in the frequency of asthma-related hospitalizations, respectively. Results: Asthma-related hospitalization rates were highest in children aged 0–4 years and in boys. There was a decreasing trend in the number of asthma-related hospitalizations across the study period. Approximately 48% of all hospitalizations were children living in health vulnerable areas. Seasonal trends showed a hospitalization peak in March, April, and May, coinciding with the post-rainy period. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that social and environmental factors may be determinants of disparities in severe asthma.

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