Antibiotic use in the first year of life as a risk factor for asthma symptoms. What is new in the association?


      There has been reported a prevalence increase of asthma symptoms in the last decade. This situation represents a current public health problem. Among the risk factors studied, the antibiotic use in the first year has been associated with asthma at school age, with an OR 4.05(1.55-10.59);[1] however, the data are inconclusive. The aim of study is to investigate the association between the use of antibiotics in the first year of life and symptoms of asthma in Mexican children 6 to 7 years old.


      Cross sectional study was conducted in children between 6 to 7 years old in four Mexican cities. Following Global Asthma Network (GAN) methodology, parents of children completed written questionnaires about demographic data, current asthma symptoms and possible risk factors including the antibiotic use in the first year of life. Measures of central tendency and Chi-square test were estimated for the statistical analysis.


      A total 9718 children 6 to 7 years old from 198 schools in Mexico City, Mexicali, Ciudad Victoria and Toluca were included. “Wheeze ever” (WE) and “wheezing in the last 12 months” (W12) prevalence was on average 24.9% (IC 95% 24.0-25.8) and 10.3% (IC 95% 9.7-10.9) respectively, significantly higher in the ISAAC study with a percentage difference of 5.6% and 2.9% respectively. Additionally, the antibiotics use in the first year of life was associated with a significantly increased risk of (WE) with an OR 2.38 (2.16-2.63) and W12 with an OR 1.95 (1.7-2.26), a statistically significant correlation was found in both (p<0.01).


      In our population, there is an association between antibiotic use in the first year of life and current asthma in children 6 and 7 years old. Further research is required to determine the reasons for these associations.


      1. Wickens K, Pearce N, Crane J, Beasley R. Antibiotic use in early childhood and the development of asthma. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 1999; 29: 766-771.