Venero-Fernandez, S.J. and Suarez-Medina, R. and Mora-Faife, E.C. and Garcia-Garcia, G. and Valle-Infante, I. and Gomez-Marrero, L. and Abreu-Suarez, G. and Gonzalez-Valdez, J. and Dania Fabro-Ortiz, D. and Fundora-Hernandez, H. and Venn, A. and Britton, J. and Fogarty, Andrew W.
Risk factors for wheezing in infants born in Cuba.
QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 106
Background: Cuba is a unique country, and despite limited economic development, has an excellent health system. However, the prevalence of asthma symptoms in children in Havana, Cuba, is unusually high.
Aim: As early life exposures are critical to the aetiology of asthma, we have studied environmental influences on the risk of wheezing in Cuban infants.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: A random sample of 2032 children aged 12–15 months living in Havana was selected for inclusion in the cohort. Data were collected using questionnaires administered by researchers.
Results: Of 2032 infants invited to participate, 1956 (96%) infants provided data. The prevalence of any wheeze was 45%, severe wheeze requiring use of emergency services was 30% and recurrent wheeze on three or more occasions was 20%. The largest adjusted risk factors for any wheeze were presence of eczema [odds ratio (OR) 2.09; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.48–2.94], family history of asthma (OR 2.05; 95% CI 1.60–2.62), poor ventilation in the house (OR 1.99; 95% CI 1.48–2.67), attendance at nursery (OR 1.78; 95% CI 1.24–2.57), male sex (OR1.52; 95% CI 1.19–1.96) and the number of smokers in the house (P < 0.03 for trend), OR 1.64 (95% CI 1.17–2.31) for three or more smokers in the house compared to no smokers in the household.
Conclusion: We have identified several risk factors for any wheeze in young infants living in modern day Cuba. As the prevalence of smoking in the house is high (51%), intervention studies are required to determine effective strategies to improve infant health.
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