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Keywords:

  • wheeze;
  • asthma;
  • child;
  • infection;
  • cohort studies

Mommers M, Thijs C, Stelma F, Penders J, Reimerink J, van Ree R, Koopmans M. Timing of infection and development of wheeze, eczema, and atopic sensitization during the first 2 yr of life: The KOALA Birth Cohort Study. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 983–989. © 2010 The John Wiley & Sons A/S

To investigate if infections in pregnancy and very early in life present a risk for wheezing, eczema, or atopic sensitization in later infancy. A total of 2319 children enrolled before birth in the KOALA Birth Cohort Study were followed during their first 2 yr of life using repeated questionnaires. Information was obtained on common colds, fever, and diarrhea with fever as well as on wheeze and eczema at ages 3 and 7 months and 1 and 2 yr, respectively. Blood samples were collected from 786 children at age 2 yr for specific immunoglobulin E analyses. Children with a common cold [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.03 95% CI 1.21–3.41] or fever episode (aOR 1.81 95% CI 1.10–2.96) in the first 3 months of life had a higher risk of new onset wheeze in the second year of life compared to children who had not. For children with diarrhea with fever in the first 3 months of life, the aOR for new onset wheeze in the second year of life was 3.94 (95% CI 1.36–11.40) compared to children without diarrhea. Infections becoming clinically manifest during the first 3 months of life may be a general marker for a wheezy phenotype.