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Asthma and early childhood infectious disease

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 21 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:164

Infection is trigger rather than cause

  1. Vassiliki Angelakou, consultant in paediatrics,
  2. Maria Bitsori, specialist registrar in paediatrics,
  3. Emmanouil Galanakis, assistant professor of paediatrics
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Venizelion and Pananion General Hospital of Heraklion, POB 44, Gr-71 001 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
  2. Department Immunology, Royal Childrens Hospital, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia 3052
  3. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Australia 0200

    EDITOR—The study by Illi et al is suggestive of a protective role of early upper respiratory tract infections against the development of asthma later in life.1 Concerning lower respiratory tract infections, a positive association with the development of asthma has been proposed. But as these infections were found to be significantly higher in children with a family history of atopy, Illi et al conclude that they rather represent manifestations of children already predisposed to asthma.

    We analysed the preliminary results of a prospective study of infants with bronchiolitis during the first year of life. We enrolled all the 238 infants admitted to two major paediatric departments in Crete from January 1999 to April 2000. The infants were classified as positive or negative for respiratory syncytial virus from the results of a rapid test for …

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