Aim: The objectives of the study were to assess total serum IgE and eosinophil count in a random sample of 20% of the children between 12 and 54 months old in a suburban community of Bandung, Indonesia, and to investigate a possible relationship between these values and atopy, asthma or wheezing and parasite infestation.
Methods: Two hundred sixty-nine children were examined at the Integrated Primary Health Care Unit, and the parents or guardians were interviewed with the use of a standardized questionnaire.
Results: The overall median value of IgE was 436 IU/ml (range, 18 to 9707 IU/ml); almost 94% of the children showed an IgE value of more than 100 IU/ml, and 29% showed a value of more than 1000 IU/ml. The median value for eosinophils was 580/mm3 (range, 70 to 5090/mm3); only 31% of the children had less than 400 eosinophils/mm3. IgE levels and eosinophilia were not related to age but showed a significant, although not high, correlation with each other (p < 0.05). In about 36% of the children parasites were demonstrated in a single stool sample; in those subjects eosinophilia and IgE values tended to be greater, but the difference was not significant. About 7% of the children had asthma, and in those subjects the eosinophil counts and IgE levels were much more increased (p < 0.001 and p approximately 0.01, respectively). No difference was found in IgE or eosinophil count in relation to other forms of atopy in the child (milk-induced dermatitis, urticaria, eczema, rhinitis) or in relation to a history of asthma or atopy in other family members. Yet, the occurrence of asthma in the child was significantly related to a history of asthma in other family members.
Conclusions: IgE values and eosinophilia are markedly increased in these children under 5 years of age in Bandung, Indonesia, and the highest values are found in the 7% with asthma.