Data for: Increase in asthma prevalence in adults in temporary housing after the Great East Japan Earthquake
Background: It is unknown whether disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis affect asthma development or exacerbation in the elderly. Here, we investigated whether asthma prevalence increased in the elderly living in temporary housing after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Methods: We diagnosed asthma according to GINA guidelines in residents 15 years or older who were living, or had lived, in temporary housing in the city of Ishinomaki. We analyzed serum antigen-specific anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody levels to Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f), Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus glaucus, Aspergillus amstelodami, and Aspergillus restrictus. Results: The average age of the 337 inhabitants was 61.3 ± 15.8 years (men, 37.7% ). The asthma prevalence was 24.9% by specialist diagnosis. The antigen-specific IgE antibody titer against Der f, but none of the other test antigens, was significantly higher in the asthma group than in the no-asthma group (P < 0.01). Time of asthma onset was before the earthquake, 44.6%; in shelters, 9.5%, and after moving into temporary housing, 45.9%. In 71.4% of asthmatics there was exacerbation of asthma after temporary housing occupancy. Logistic regression revealed that the risk factors for developing asthma after moving into temporary housing were more middle-aged (P < 0.05), allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis (P < 0.05), family asthma history (P < 0.05), never having smoked (P < 0.01), and peripheral airways disorder (lower % V50) (P < 0.05), but not depression. Conclusions: The earthquake and tsunami disasters increased mite allergen sensitization and exacerbation or development of asthma in elderly residents.