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Open Access Research article

Allergic rhinitis and its associated co-morbidities at Bugando Medical Centre in Northwestern Tanzania; A prospective review of 190 cases

Said A Said1, Mabula D Mchembe2, Phillipo L Chalya1*, Peter Rambau3 and Japhet M Gilyoma1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences Bugando, Mwanza, Tanzania

2 Department of Surgery, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

3 Department of Pathology, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences Bugando, Mwanza, Tanzania

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2012, 12:13  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-12-13

Published: 8 November 2012



Allergic rhinitis is one of the commonest atopic diseases which contribute to significant morbidity world wide while its epidemiology in Tanzania remains sparse. There was paucity of information regarding allergic rhinitis in our setting; therefore it was important to conduct this study to describe our experience on allergic rhinitis, associated co-morbidities and treatment outcome in patients attending Bugando Medical Centre.


This was descriptive cross-sectional study involving all patients with a clinical diagnosis of allergic rhinitis at Bugando Medical Centre over a three-month period between June 2011 and August 2011. Data was collected using a pre-tested coded questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS statistical computer software version 17.0.


A total of 190 patients were studied giving the prevalence of allergic rhinitis 14.7%. The median age of the patients was 8.5 years. The male to female ratio was 1:1. Adenoid hypertrophy, tonsillitis, hypertrophy of inferior turbinate, nasal polyps, otitis media and sinusitis were the most common co-morbidities affecting 92.6% of cases and were the major reason for attending hospital services. Sleep disturbance was common in children with adenoids hypertrophy (χ2 = 28.691, P = 0.000). Allergic conjunctivitis was found in 51.9%. The most common identified triggers were dust, strong perfume odors and cold weather (P < 0.05). Strong perfume odors affect female than males (χ2 = 4.583, P = 0.032). In this study family history of allergic rhinitis was not a significant risk factor (P =0.423). The majority of patients (68.8%) were treated surgically for allergic rhinitis co morbidities. Post operative complication and mortality rates were 2.9% and 1.6% respectively. The overall median duration of hospital stay of in-patients was 3 days (2 – 28 days). Most patients (98.4%) had satisfactory results at discharge.


The study shows that allergic rhinitis is common in our settings representing 14.7% of all otorhinolaryngology and commonly affecting children and adolescent. Sufferers seek medical services due to co-morbidities of which combination of surgical and medical treatment was needed. High index of suspicions in diagnosing allergic rhinitis and early treatment is recommended.

Allergic rhinitis; Co-morbidities; Treatment outcome; Tanzania