Korean J Asthma Allergy Clin Immunol.  2005 Jun;25(2):81-89.

Viral Infections and the Inception and Exacerbation of Asthma

Abstract

Viral infections profoundly influence the onset and disease activity of wheezing illnesses and asthma in childhood. In infancy, viral bronchiolitis shares many features with asthma, and a subset of children develop recurrent wheezing after their initial illness. Older children and adults with asthma continue to experience wheezing with respiratory viral infections, most commonly caused by rhinoviruses. Mechanisms for virus-induced exacerbations of asthma are beginning to be defined. Viruses cause systemic immune activation and also produce local airway inflammation: the combination of these factors is likely to adversely affect airway physiology leading to an increase in mucus production, airway narrowing, and ultimately airway obstruction. These new insights related to the pathogenesis and disease activity are likely to provide new targets for the therapy and prevention of asthma.

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