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Fall babies: Born to wheeze?
Date:11/20/2008

onchiolitis to asthma is almost certainly influenced by genetic factors," wrote Dr. Hartert. "However, if this association were due only to genetic factors, there would be a seasonal effect on infection but not on asthmaInstead we have shown that there is variation in the risk of developing asthma by the timing of birth in relationship to the winter virus peak for each year studied. This supports a causal relationship of childhood asthma with the winter virus peak after birth."

Unfortunately, predicting the peak of winter virus season is difficultit can vary by up to ten weeks a year, and Dr. Hartert notes that avoiding winter virus infection would be nearly impossible70 percent of infants are infected in their first year of lifebut that for families whose infants are at high risk for developing asthma, there are a number of ways to reduce the risks associated with birth timing, including avoiding infection through administration of a vaccine or immunoprophylaxis or timing of birth in the spring months. These strategies hold the hope for asthma prevention, however, these interventions first need to be studied.

"Prospective trials with antiviral strategies, including potential new vaccines targeting [respiratory viruses] in selected populations at risk should give us better understanding of the role of viral infections in early life in the causation of childhood asthma," wrote Renato T. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., of the Pontifcia Universidade Catlica in Porto Alegre, Brazil in the accompanying editorial.

Currently no effective primary and secondary asthma prevention measures exits, noted Dr. Hastert. "The next critical step is support for studies designed to determine whether prevention of the ubiquitous infections during infancy prevents childhood asthma."


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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