Decreased lung function after rhinovirus wheezing illnesses in high risk children

Published Online: August 5, 2011

Studies evaluating the natural history of asthma have shown that initial asthma-like symptoms and loss in lung function occur early in life. Wheezing viral respiratory tract illnesses caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus (RV) in early life predict an increased risk of childhood asthma in preschool-aged children; however, it is not clear how specific viral illnesses in early life relate to lung function later on in childhood.

In a recent issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Guilbert et al, investigated relationships between specific viral wheezing illnesses during the preschool years and lung function between ages 4-8 years in a group of 238 children at high risk for developing asthma.

Children with early RV wheezing illnesses demonstrated significantly decreased lung function compared to those who did not wheeze with RV. This association was not observed with RSV or other viral illnesses. These findings suggest that recognizing early RV illnesses could help identify those children at risk for developing decreased lung function. Whether low lung function is a cause and/or effect of RV wheezing illnesses has yet to be determined.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology