ISAAC Methodology

ISAAC Phase One was an international multi-centre cross-sectional study involving two age groups of school children, 13-14 year olds (adolescents) and 6-7 year olds (children). Schools were randomly selected from a defined geographical area. Written questionnaires on asthma, rhinitis and eczema symptoms (translated from English) were completed by the adolescents at school, and at home by the parents of the children. An asthma symptoms video questionnaire for the adolescents was optional.

ISAAC Phase Two involved more intensive studies in a smaller number of selected centres. Children aged 9-11 years were examined for flexural dermatitis, underwent skin prick tests for atopy, bronchial responsiveness to hypertonic saline, blood sampling and storage for serum IgE and genetic analyses, and additional questionnaires were completed by their parents.

ISAAC Phase Three, a repeat of Phase One after at least five years, examined variations in time trends of childhood asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema around the world, and expanded the world maps of these conditions. Additional questions on risk factors were included in an “environmental questionnaire”.

ISAAC Phase Four is the development and expansion of the scope of the ISAAC website as a resource for ISAAC collaborators. It includes the addition of management plans that are useful for managing asthma, eczema, and rhinitis.

ISAAC methods and field manuals are freely available for use in other surveys, provided they adhere to the ISAAC publication policy on the ISAAC website (http://isaac.auckland.ac.nz/publications/publicationspolicy.html) and reference the use of the ISAAC tools appropriately.