Short-term respiratory symptoms are independent of the microbial species


Published Online: June 19, 2015

Wheezy episodes in young children are often triggered by viral or bacterial respiratory tract infections, but there is little evidence supporting the hypothesis that symptom duration depends on the specific microbial trigger.

In an Original Article recently published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Carlsson et al investigated the association between various bacterial and viral airway pathogens and the duration of wheezy episodes in 283 children from the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood2000 at-risk birth cohort (COPSAC2000). Airway pathogens were examined longitudinally during acute wheezy episodes in the first three years of life and the duration of episodes was monitored in daily diaries.

The authors found that the duration of wheezy episodes was independent of specific virus or bacteria. This suggests that although microbes act as instigators of asthmatic symptoms in children, other factors determine the duration of symptoms. The authors suggest that such predisposing factors, including characteristics of the child and the environment, should be the target of future research. Furthermore, it was a marked finding that pathogenic bacteria were present in 86% of wheezy episodes. This indicates that the role of bacteria in childhood wheeze deserves more attention in contrast to the current narrow focus on particular viruses.


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.

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