Background: Little is known about factors determining
the pathogenesis and severity of asthma in Latin American countries.
Costa Rica, one of the most prosperous Latin American nations, has a
very high asthma prevalence.
Objective: To examine the
relation between potential risk factors and childhood asthma in Costa
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 214
schoolchildren aged 10 to 13 years participating in phase II of the
International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood.
Results: After adjustment for age, gender, area of
residence, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and airway responsiveness
to hypertonic saline solution, sensitization to house dust mites was
associated with asthma (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence
interval [CI], 1.1 to 4.4; p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis,
parental education no higher than high school (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4 to
6.4; p < 0.01) and parental history of asthma (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.3
to 5.2; p < 0.01) were also independent predictors of childhood
Conclusions: Sensitization to house dust
mites, low parental education, and parental history of asthma are
associated with asthma in Costa Rica.