In 1998 the ISAAC study reported a
12 month prevalence of selfreported
asthma symptoms ranging from 7.5% to 17%.1 The prevalence of “asthma ever” was 3.3% in this group of children (Figure 1). The International Study of Asthma and Allergies
in Childhood (ISAAC) Programme was
designed to compare the global prevalence of childhood asthma. A subsequent ISAAC follow-up study conducted in the same region revealed a rise in the prevalence of asthma, with an increase in more severe asthma. What was of concern in this audit was that a diagnosis of asthma was seemingly
less often made. The prevalence of asthma in Cape Town is thus high and asthma is a
common condition. We should expect then that it would be familiar to the medical profession and well managed and controlled.