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Children With Asthma Most Affected by Rhinovirus

New study finds evidence to support the link between the common cold and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis//. The study also shows that the link between rhinoviruses and hospitalizations is especially strong when children have a history of wheezing or asthma.

Rhinoviruses are among the most common viral infections, and are responsible for at least 50 percent of all common colds. Although the association between rhinoviruses and other acute respiratory illnesses in children is increasingly accepted and has been shown in previous reports, the new study is the first to determine age-specific rates of hospitalization across the entire population of two counties.

The study, conducted by E. Kathryn Miller, MD, MPH, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Rochester, surveyed children under the age of 5 years admitted with fever and respiratory symptoms in Davidson County, Tenn. (which includes Nashville) and Monroe County, N.Y. (which includes Rochester) over a one-year period.

Their results showed that of the 592 children involved in the study, 26 percent tested positive for rhinovirus, representing almost 5 rhinovirus-associated hospitalizations per 1000 children. The study detected more rhinoviruses (26 percent) than respiratory syncytial viruses (20 percent), which have been considered the major cause of respiratory infections in infants and children.

These findings are particularly important given the age-specific rates of hospitalization observed. Among children 0-5 months, there were 17.6 hospitalizations per thousand; among those age 6-23 months, 6.0 per thousand; and among those 24-59 months, 2.0 hospitalizations per thousand. Miller remarked, "This study shows that rhinoviruses are associated with hospitalizations for fever and respiratory illnesses, even in young infants."

Children with a history of wheezi
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