Open Access Open Badges Research article

Risk factors for eczema in infants born in Cuba: a population-based cross-sectional study

Ramón Suárez-Medina1*, Silvia Josefina Venero-Fernández1, Esperanza de la Mora-Faife1, Gladys García-García1, Ileana del Valle-Infante1, Liem Gómez-Marrero1, Dania Fabré-Ortiz2, Hermes Fundora-Hernández1, Andrea Venn3, John Britton3, Andrew W Fogarty3 and the HINASIC (Historia Natural de la Sibilancia en Cuba/National History of Wheezing in Cuba) Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto Nacional de Higiene, Epidemiología y Microbiología, Infanta No 1158 e/ Llinásy Clavel, Código Postal 10300 La Habana, Cuba

2 Hospital Pediátrico Docente “Juan Manuel Márquez”, La Habana, Cuba

3 Nottingham Biomedical Research Unit, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, City Hospital, NG5 1 PB Nottingham, UK

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BMC Dermatology 2014, 14:6  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-14-6

Published: 25 March 2014



There is a concern that allergic disease in childhood is higher than expected in Cuba. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors for eczema of infants aged 12–15 months living in Havana.


We used a cross-sectional epidemiological study design. Data on eczema symptoms and a wide range of lifestyle factors were collected by researcher administered questionnaires.


Data were collected on 1956 children (96% response rate), of whom 672 (34%) were reported as having had eczema. Independent risk factors for eczema included young maternal age (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.98 per additional year of age; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97-0.99), child’s weight (OR 1.13 per additional kg; 95% CI: 1.03-1.25), insect sting allergy (OR 2.11; 95% CI: 1.33-3.35), rodents in the home (OR 1.39; 95% CI: 1.10-1.76), attendance at childcare facilities (OR 1.34: 95% CI: 1.05-1.70) and self-reported mould in the home (OR 1.23; 95% CI: 1.07-1.41). Infant exposure to paracetamol was associated with an increased risk of eczema even after adjustment for wheeze (OR 1.22; 95% CI: 1.03-1.46).


Despite a very different culture and environment, the consistency of these findings with those from more economically developed countries suggests potential causal associations. The association with paracetamol, even after adjustment for wheeze, suggests that intervention studies are required in young infants, to ascertain if this commonly used anti-pyretic medication increases allergic disease.

Eczema; Infants; Risk factor; Cuba; Paracetamol