Background — Recent evidence regarding temporal trends of asthma burden has not been consistent, with some countries reporting decreases in prevalence of asthma. In Ontario, the province in Canada with the highest population, the prevalence of asthma rose at a rate of 0.5% per year between 1996 and 2005. These estimates were based on population-based health services use data spanning more than a decade and provide a powerful source to forecast the trends of asthma burden. The objective of this study was to use observed population trends data of asthma incidence and prevalence to forecast future disease burden.
Methods — The Ontario Asthma Surveillance Information System (OASIS) used health administrative databases to identify and track all individuals in the province with asthma. Individuals with asthma identified between April 1, 1996 and March 31, 2010 were included. Exponential smoothing models were applied to annual data to project incidence to the year 2022, prevalence was estimated by applying the cumulative projected incidence to the projected population.
Results — While asthma incidence is falling, the absolute number of prevalent cases will continue to rise. The researchers projected that almost 1 in 8 individuals in Ontario will have asthma by the year 2022, suggesting that asthma will continue to be a major burden on individuals and the health care system.
Conclusions — These projections will help inform health care planners and decision-makers regarding resource allocation to optimize asthma outcomes.
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Research and statistical methods