-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Infants in urban areas
have different patterns of viral respiratory illness than those in
the suburbs, which may explain why inner-city children are more
likely to develop asthma, a new study suggests.
The findings may lead to new ways to treat childhood asthma,
according to Dr. James Gern of the University of Wisconsin,
Madison, and colleagues.
Previous studies have linked viral respiratory illnesses to the
development of asthma in children and have shown that children with
human rhinovirus infections are more likely to develop asthma by
age 6 than those with respiratory syncytial virus infections.
In this study, researchers analyzed nasal secretions from 500
infants living in inner-city areas of Boston, Baltimore, New York
City and St. Louis, and 285 infants from suburban Madison, Wis. The
samples were taken while the children were healthy, and also when
they had respiratory illnesses.
Inner-city infants had lower rates of human rhinovirus and
respiratory syncytial virus than suburban infants, but were more
likely to test positive for adenovirus infections -- 4.8 percent of
urban babies tested positive for adenovirus only versus 0.7 percent
of suburban babies.
Adenovirus can cause persistent infections and the researchers
suggested that adenovirus infections early in life could alter the
development of the lungs or airways. The investigators plan to
follow the inner-city kids for at least 10 years to determine
whether adenovirus infections are associated with increased rates
of asthma and lower levels of lung function.
The study was published online Sept. 26 in the
Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The American Lung Association has more about
children and asthma.
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