Date Published: April 18, 2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Abiy Maru Alemayehu, Betelhem Temesgen Yibekal, Sofonias Addis Fekadu, James Wolffsohn.
Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a chronic bilateral severe form of allergic conjunctivitis which affects normal activities in school/work. It is a severe form of allergies in warm and dry tropical and sub-tropical countries. Its prevalence in Ethiopia ranges from 5.2% to7.3%. Most studies are institution based and do not address specific factors associated with vernal keratoconjunctivitis. There is no a study that shows the magnitude of vernal keratoconjunctivitis in the study area.
To assess the prevalence of vernal keratoconjunctivitis and its associated factors among children in Gambella town, Southwest Ethiopia, 2018.
A community based cross-sectional study was conducted from April 25 to May 12, 2018, in Gambella town. A total of 578 study participants were selected using a systematic random sampling technique. A pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire, torch, and magnifying loop were used to collect data. The data was entered into epidemiological information 7.1 and exported to statistical package for social science for analysis. Binary logistic regression analysis model was fitted to identify factors associated with vernal keratoconjunctivitis. Odds ratio with respected 95% CI was used to identify the direction and strength of association.
A total of 574 children participated in this study representing a response rate of 99.30%. The mean age of the participants was 9.74±4.0 years. The prevalence of vernal keratoconjunctivitis was 11.10% (95% CI: 8.70, 13.90). Male sex (adjusted odds ratio = 4.12(95% CI: 1.42, 11.91)), close animal contact (adjusted odds ratio = 3.45(95% CI: 1.14, 10.41)), dust exposure (adjusted odds ratio = 3.38(95% CI: 1.31, 10.04)), and personal systemic allergy history (adjusted odds ratio = 4.82(1.40, 16.72) were independently associated with vernal keratoconjunctivitis.
The prevalence of VKC was high among children in Gambella town. Sex being male, close animal contact, personal systemic allergy history, and dust exposure were positively associated with vernal keratoconjunctivitis independently.
Allergic conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva (caused by hypersensitivity type I reaction) due to the immune response to the allergens. Vernal (springtime) keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) is a chronic bilateral inflammation of the conjunctiva/cornea which is manifested by the presence of giant/cobblestone papillae at the tarsus/limbus [2–5].
This community-based cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of vernal keratoconjunctivitis and its associated factor among children in Gambella town.
The prevalence of vernal keratoconjunctivitis among children in Gambella town was high which indicates that it was a public health significance in the town.