BACKGROUND: Little is known about the epidemiology of atopic eczema (AE), and studies from the Mediterranean region and the Middle East are limited.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the frequency, burden, and risk factors of AE in a developing country.
METHODS: The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase II questionnaire was used to survey a representative sample of 10 to 11-year-old children in Turkey. Children were examined by allergists, and parents completed standardized questionnaires.
RESULTS: Among 6755 children, the prevalence of having eczema during one's lifetime or currently was 17.1% and 8.1%, respectively. The prevalence of visits to the doctor, nocturnal awakening, school absenteeism, and drug usage was 36.3%, 56%, 9.7%, and 28.7%, respectively. Associated factors were current rhinoconjunctivitis (odds ratio [OR], 2.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.99-3.21), current wheezing (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.58-2.79), family history of allergic disease (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.21-2.18), low birth weight (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.08-2.94), and exposure to animals in the first year of life (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.06-2.03).
CONCLUSIONS: In a developing Mediterranean country, the prevalence of AE is comparable to that of developed countries in the same region and lower than that observed in developed countries elsewhere. The course of the disease and risk factors of AE probably differ in developing countries.
Background: Little is known about the epidemiology of atopic eczema (AE), and studies from the Mediterranean region and the Middle East are limited.