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Viral infections in infancy are not associated with wheezing symptoms in later childhood
Date:5/23/2012

ATS 2012, SAN FRANCISCO The number of viral infections during infancy is not associated with wheezing later in childhood, according to a new study from researchers in the Netherlands. While viral illnesses with wheezing in infancy predicted wheezing later in childhood, this association was due in part to decreased neonatal lung function.

"Viral infections in infancy, particularly rhinovirus, are thought to be a risk factor for later asthma development, but it is unclear whether this association is due to the viruses themselves or whether rhinovirus-associated wheeze is merely an indicator of disease susceptibility," said Anne van der Gugten, MD, a researcher at the University Medical Center Utrecht. "Accordingly, we examined the association between viruses during the first year of life independent of symptoms and the subsequent development of wheezing symptoms in childhood."

The results of the study will be presented at the ATS 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.

In the prospective, population-based birth cohort study, 96 children were followed from infancy through age four. Nose and throat swabs were collected at the beginning of every month during the first year of life, independent of the occurrence of symptoms. Pre-symptomatic lung function was assessed at the age of two months using the single occlusion technique.

Of 96 children, 13 (13.5%) had wheezing illnesses at age four. Compared to children without wheezing at age four, those with wheezing had decreased neonatal lung function. Children with wheezing at age four had a median of four human rhinovirus (HRV) infections in their first year, compared with a median of five among children without wheezing.

Neither the number of HRV infections in infancy nor the number of viral infections in general were associated with an increased risk of wheezing at age four. While a higher number of viral episodes with wheezing or a higher number of HRV episodes
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Contact: Nathaniel Dunford
ndunford@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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