The prevalence, characteristics of and risk factors for eczema in Belgian schoolchildren

Elke Govaere, Dirk Van Gysel, Katia M C Verhamme, Erenik Doli, Arnold P Oranje, Frans De Baets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Childhood eczema is common in infants, but its nature and extent during later childhood remains unclear. In this cross-sectional study we examined the prevalence and characteristics of eczema in an unbiased community population of 2,021 Belgian schoolchildren, aged 3.4 to 14.8 years with skin prick testing and parental questionnaires. Our study identified an eczema prevalence of 23.3% and a considerable allergic comorbidity, mainly in sensitized children. The reported prevalence of eczema in infancy was 18.5% and for current eczema 11.6%. The overall sensitization rate (33.2%) as well as sensitization rates for the individual allergens were significantly higher in children with "eczema ever." Sensitization to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (19.6%), mixed grass pollen (15.1%), and cat (9.1%) were most common. Until the age of 6 years, boys with eczema were significantly more sensitized than girls (p = 0.007). Children with both eczema in infancy and current eczema show a tendency to be more sensitized than children with eczema in infancy only or current eczema only, but significance was only noted for a few individual allergens. Analysis of factors associated with eczema revealed a predominantly atopic profile characterized by family or personal history of allergy. Breastfeeding and environmental factors seemed to assume little relevance except for a protective effect of prematurity and having a dog at birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2009


  • Adolescent
  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Belgium/epidemiology
  • Bronchitis/epidemiology
  • Cats/immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus/immunology
  • Dogs/immunology
  • Eczema/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity/diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pollen/immunology
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


Dive into the research topics of 'The prevalence, characteristics of and risk factors for eczema in Belgian schoolchildren'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this