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Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Infection in Early Childhood

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BACKGROUND: There is a large, unexplained variation in the frequency of childhood infections. We described incidence and risk factors of infections in early childhood.

METHODS: Simple infections were captured during the first 3 years of life in the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood 2000 birth cohort. Environmental exposures were analyzed by quasi-Poisson regression and sparse principal component analysis.

RESULTS: The 334 children experienced a median of 14 (range 2-43) infectious episodes at ages 0 to 3 years. The overall rate of infections was associated with the number of children in the day care (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 1.09 [1.2-1.16]) and the m2 per child in the day care (aIRR 0.96 [0.92-0.99]). Upper respiratory infections were also associated with the number of children in the day care (aIRR 1.11 [1.03-1.20]) and the m2 per child in the day care (aIRR 0.95 [0.91-0.99]), whereas lower respiratory infections were associated with caesarean section (aIRR 1.49 [1.12-1.99]), maternal smoking (aIRR 1.66 [1.18-2.33]), older siblings (aIRR 1.54 [1.19-2.01]), and the age at entry to day care (aIRR 0.77 [0.65-0.91]). The sparse principal component analysis revealed a risk factor profile driven by tobacco exposure, social circumstances, and domestic pets, but could only be used to explain 8.4% of the infection burden.

CONCLUSIONS: Children experienced around 14 infections during the first 3 years of life, but incidences varied greatly. Environmental exposures only explained a small fraction of the variation, suggesting host factors as major determinants of infectious burden.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatrics
Volume141
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)e:20170933
Number of pages11
ISSN0031-4005
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

ID: 55366214