Death rate for children with asthma is rising

April 5, 2012 By Justin Norrie
Parents of children with asthma are urged to be more vigilant. Credit: AAP/Simon Renilson

Health experts have warned parents of children with asthma to take the condition more seriously as new data reveals that in recent years asthma-related deaths among people under 15 have increased for the first time.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures show that there were 17 deaths in 2009/10 compared with seven deaths in 2005/06.

“This is the first time we have seen an increase in asthma-related deaths among children. It’s deeply concerning and should be a major wake-up call for parents,” said National Asthma Council Australia Chair, Noela Whitby.

“It’s imperative that parents and carers of children with asthma take the necessary steps to ensure their child’s condition is controlled by implementing an ongoing asthma management program and following their doctor’s advice,” Dr. Whitby said.

More than two million Australians have asthma – one of the highest per capita rates in the world.

While the overall toll has decreased sharply from a peak of 964 deaths in 1989 to 416 in 2010, Dr. Whitby said the recent rise in asthma deaths in children could be a sign are becoming too complacent.

However Guy Marks, a respiratory physician and Head of Epidemiology Group at the University of Sydney’s Woolcock Institute, said that little could be read into figures collected over such a short period.

“Overall, deaths attributed to asthma have been stable, around 400 per year, for several years now,” Dr. Marks said. “Deaths due asthma in are, fortunately, rare. It is difficult to draw any inferences based on change from one year to the next. Trends over several years are more informative.

“Although there have been important gains in reducing deaths and hospitalisations due to asthma over the last two decades, it is important to remain vigilant. In most people with asthma, the disease can be well controlled with effective treatment.

“The main threat to individuals with troublesome is the failure to regularly use these effective medications.”

Explore further: Lack of health insurance linked to fewer asthma diagnoses in children

Related Stories

Lack of health insurance linked to fewer asthma diagnoses in children

October 27, 2011
Providing health insurance to more children could lead to diagnosing additional cases of mild or intermittent asthma, a new study shows. Some who treat childhood asthma say this could increase the number of kids receiving ...

Discovery of asthma cause could help treat sufferers

October 5, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University of Bath have found a new cause of severe asthma that could help develop a treatment and potentially prevent the 1100 asthma deaths each year in the UK.

UIC researchers test effects of vitamin D on asthma severity

November 29, 2011
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are recruiting volunteers with asthma for a study of whether taking vitamin D can make asthma medication more effective.

Recommended for you

New insights into protein's role in inflammatory response

July 28, 2017
A protein called POP2 inhibits a key inflammatory pathway, calming the body's inflammatory response before it can become destructive, Northwestern Medicine scientists have demonstrated in mouse models.

Targeting 'broken' metabolism in immune cells reduces inflammatory disease

July 12, 2017
The team, led by researchers at Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and Ergon Pharmaceuticals, believes the approach could offer new hope in the treatment of inflammatory conditions like arthritis, autoimmune ...

A perturbed skin microbiome can be 'contagious' and promote inflammation, study finds

June 29, 2017
Even in healthy individuals, the skin plays host to a menagerie of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Growing scientific evidence suggests that this lively community, collectively known as the skin microbiome, serves an important ...

Inflammatory bowel disease: Scientists zoom in on genetic culprits

June 28, 2017
Scientists have closed in on specific genes responsible for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) from a list of over 600 genes that were suspects for the disease. The team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators ...

Trials show unique stem cells a potential asthma treatment

June 28, 2017
A study led by scientists at Monash University has shown that a new therapy developed through stem cell technology holds promise as a treatment for chronic asthma.

Researchers find piece in inflammatory disease puzzle

May 23, 2017
Inflammation is the process by which the body responds to injury or infection but when this process becomes out of control it can cause disease. Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers, in collaboration with ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.