We studied the relationship of serum levels of IgA and IgE to allergic manifestations and otitis media in a cohort of 179 Icelandic children, aged 18 to 23 months. Only one of the infants had IgA deficiency (less than 50 micrograms/ml); all the others had IgA levels that were normal for their age. The children were divided into three groups according to their IgA levels (lowest 25%, intermediate 50%, highest 25%) and the clinical findings analyzed accordingly. The cumulative incidence of definite allergic manifestations was 37%. Asthma and otitis media were significantly more common among the infants with low normal IgA levels than among those with intermediate to high IgA levels. There was also a significant association between the severity of allergic manifestations and low IgA levels (p = 0.002). Children with detectable IgE (greater than or equal to 0.23 kilounit/L) had a higher incidence of atopic manifestations than did children in whom IgE was not detectable, but only a weak correlation was found between the occurrence and extent of allergic symptoms and increasing amounts of IgE beyond the 0.23 kilounit/L level. These findings suggest that atopic manifestations in infants may be more dependent on delayed maturation of IgA production than on overproduction of IgE.