Viral infections in infancy are not associated with wheezing symptoms in later childhood

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.

" in , 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 is merely an indicator of ," 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 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 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 (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 with wheezing was associated with an increased risk of wheezing at age four, these associations were not significant after adjustment for neonatal lung function.

"A number of prospective studies in high-risk cohorts have shown that viral wheezing illnesses, especially those caused by rhinovirus, are the most important predictors of the subsequent development of wheezing or asthma in childhood," said Dr. van der Gugten, "but it is unclear if rhinovirus is causally related to the development of asthma."

"Our study is the first to examine the association between viruses in infancy independent of symptoms and wheezing symptoms in childhood," said Dr. van der Gugten. "Our findings indicate that viral infections by themselves may not be associated with the development of asthma, but that children with reduced neonatal lung function are prone to experience wheezing during viral infections in infancy and to have asthma in childhood."

"Future research into the relationship between rhinovirus and wheezing disorders should account for factors that might modify this relationship, including neonatal ," Dr. van der Gugten concluded.

More information: "Viral Infections During Infancy And Wheezing In Childhood" (Session D26, Wednesday, May 23, 2012, Room 3009, Moscone Center; Abstract 26987)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Common cold may send some young children to the hospital

Feb 21, 2007

New evidence supports the link between a cause of the common cold and more severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis. The study is published in the March 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Di ...

Breastfeeding may prevent asthma

Jul 22, 2011

Feeding a baby on only breast milk and for up to 6 months after birth can reduce their risk of developing asthma-related symptoms in early childhood, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Ivory Coast closes borders with Ebola-hit neighbours

38 minutes ago

The Ivory Coast has closed its borders with Ebola-hit Guinea and Liberia in a bid to protect citizens against an epidemic that has killed 1,427 people across West Africa, the prime minister said Saturday.

How the world is underestimating Ebola: WHO

9 hours ago

The Ebola epidemic tearing through western Africa is by far the deadliest known outbreak of the disease, yet the magnitude of the spread is believed to be severely underestimated.

Last Ebola-free region of Liberia falls to virus

9 hours ago

Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said Friday, as the World Health Organization warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

Ebola death toll rises to 1,427: WHO

20 hours ago

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak sweeping through west African countries has risen to 1,427 out of more than 2,600 cases, the World Health Organization said Friday.

User comments