Retrospective and prospective studies were done on children with wheezing bronchitis on the small Pacific island of Niue. Wheezing bronchitis was found to be a common cause of morbidity, but not mortality in these children. Episodes of the disease were most common in children under the age of 4 years and tended to disappear as they became older. A case-control study indicated smoking by the mother (P < 0.0001), positive stool examination for parasites (P < 0.001), mother with a history of wheezing bronchitis (P < 0.01) and father smoking (P < 0.05) were all correlated with wheezing bronchitis. Skin testing and serologic results indicated that hypersensitivity to house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata) antigens were also associated with having wheezing bronchitis. This study demonstrates the multifactorial etiology of wheezing bronchitis on a Pacific island.
Present address: Epidemiology and Field Studies Branch, National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases, 1440 East Indian School Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85014. Send reprint requests to this address.