Local Publications

The following publications used ISAAC data from the Antwerp centre:

  • Vellinga A, Droste JH, Vermeire PA, Desager K, De Backer WA, Nelen VJ, Weyler JJ. Changes in respiratory and allergic symptoms in schoolchildren from 1996 to 2002, results from the ISAAC surveys in Antwerp (Belgium). Acta Clin Belg.2005 Sep-Oct;60(5):219-25.

Antwerp Centre

Phase OnePhase TwoPhase Three View Centre Details
Centre:Antwerp, Belgium ( Western Europe )
Principal Investigator:Professor Paul Vermeire
Age Groups:13-14, 6-7Timeframe:13-14yr:September 1995 to November 1995
6-7yr:December 1994 to November 1995
Sampling Frame:
Phase OneView Centre DetailsPhase TwoPhase Three
Centre:Antwerp, Belgium ( Western Europe )
Principal Investigator:Professor Joost Weyler
Age Groups:13-14, 6-7Timeframe:March 2002 to June 2002
Sampling Frame:Some secondary schools in Antwerp centre and Antwerp South. Sample frame the same as for both Phase One and Phase Three.


Professor Paul Vermeire

Dienst Lonziekten
UZ Antwerp
Wilrijkstraat 10



  • Phase One Principal Investigator for Antwerp

Professor Joost Weyler

Epidemiology & Social Medicine
University of Antwerp CDE
Blok S-5
Universiteitsplein 1, R-2


  • Phase Three Principal Investigator for Antwerp

The Belgian ISAAC story

Asthma and allergies are some of the most prevalent chronic diseases in Belgium, a small West European country with a population of almost 11 million people (2010). Before the 1990’s no prevalence rates of asthma and allergic diseases were available for the general Belgian population.

In Antwerp, a research group was founded in order to study the epidemiology of asthma and allergies. This research group was a unique collaboration between the Department of Respiratory Medicine of the Antwerp University Hospital (Prof. Paul Vermeire) and the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine of the University of Antwerp (Prof. Joost Weyler and Prof. Marc van Sprundel). In 1991-1992, the Belgian research group participated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) with two Antwerp centres; one in the centre of Antwerp (urban) and one in 13 municipalities at the southern border of the city (suburban). This was the first large epidemiologic study in which the occurrence of respiratory symptoms, asthma, allergic disorders and potential risk factors was assessed in a general adult population. In Belgium, marked differences were found in the occurrence of respiratory symptoms between young adults in an urban and suburban area. The strong indication that childhood asthma was playing an important role in the area differences has increased the interest of the Antwerp asthma research group in the occurrence of respiratory symptoms in children in these areas.

Therefore, when the international steering committee decided to initiate the International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), the Antwerp asthma research group (reinforced with researchers of the Department of Paediatrics of the Antwerp University Hospital (Prof. Hugo Van Bever) did not hesitate to participate with schools in the same two Antwerp regions. In total, 6342 elementary school children (6-7-year-olds) and 2864 secondary school children (13-14-year-olds) participated in the first phase of the Belgian ISAAC.

Results showed that the regional differences that were found in adults, were not present in children. To look deeper into the potential mechanisms behind these observations a prospective birth cohort study (‘Prospective Study on the Influence of Perinatal factors on the Occurrence of Asthma and Allergies’ or ‘PIPO’) was carried out in the province of Antwerp. This project is still ongoing.