Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Childhood respiratory infection and adult chronic bronchitis in England and Wales.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 15 November 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:1271
  1. D J Barker,
  2. C Osmond


    The high mortality from chronic bronchitis in England and Wales and the excess of urban over rural mortality are unexplained. On dividing England and Wales into 212 local authority areas a strong geographical relation was found between death rates from chronic bronchitis and emphysema in 1959-78 and infant mortality from bronchitis and pneumonia during 1921-5. It was concluded that this relation provided strong evidence of a direct casual link between acute lower respiratory infection in early childhood and chronic bronchitis in adult life. Regression analysis suggested that infection in early childhood had a greater influence than cigarette smoking in determining the geographical distribution of chronic bronchitis. National time trends reflected the influence of both factors. Chronic air pollution in adult life may be less important a cause of chronic bronchitis than previously supposed.