Disease pattern and seasonal variation among Japanese expatriate children in Thailand

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Abstract

Background

Due to recent globalization, the number of Japanese expatriates including children has increased. The aim of the present study was to clarify the disease patterns and seasonal variation among Japanese children living in Thailand.

Methods

Records of Japanese children seen at the outpatient clinic at Bangkok Hospital in 2005 (n = 1668) were analyzed and records of Thai children (n = 23 339) were also analyzed for comparison.

Results

‘Diseases of the respiratory system’ was the most frequent category in both groups (Japanese, 42.1%; Thai, 45.0 %,) followed by ‘factors influencing health status and contact with health services’ (Japanese, 12.7%; Thai, 14.9%), and ‘certain infectious and parasitic diseases’ (Japanese, 10.3%; Thai, 8.5%). The number of hospital visits by Japanese patients decreased in January, April, August and December and those by Thai patients in April and September. Identical drops in the number of visits for diseases of the respiratory system were also seen. A large number of patients visited the hospital for viral infections characterized by skin and mucous membrane lesions during the rainy season. The number of hospital visits for intestinal infection fluctuated during the rainy season.

Conclusion

There were no marked differences between disease patterns of Japanese patients and Thai patients. Temporary visits back to Japan could account for sharp drops in total hospital visits and hospital visits for diseases of the respiratory system in January, April, August and December because these times of the year corresponded to extended school vacations. Preventive measures for viral infections characterized by skin and mucous membrane lesions should be promoted during the rainy season.

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