Respiratory Viral Infections and Asthma: Is There a Link?

Erwin W. Gelfand, MD

In This Article


Viral respiratory infections have been estimated to account for more than 80% of acute exacerbations of asthma in children and at least 30% to 40% of exacerbations in adults with asthma. The most significant asthma-associated viruses include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, and parainfluenza.[1] This article will review the association of respiratory viral infections and asthma, bronchial inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness associated with viral infections, viral-induced effectors of the inflammatory response, the role of noninflammatory mechanisms in virus-induced wheezing, the persistence of infection, the interactions between viral respiratory tract infection (RTI) and allergic sensitization, and current developments in vaccines for viral infections.


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