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Bronchiolitis points to later severe asthma

Wednesday March 6th, 2019

Infants admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis in infancy face a later risk of emergency admissions for asthma, wheezing and respiratory illness, according to an analysis published today.

A team from Imperial College London, UK, studied medical information on almost all births in England between April 2007 and March 2008. These 613,377 babies were followed for their first five years. About 2.5% of these babies were admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis in their first year.

Analysis showed that this group had five times the rate of further emergency admission for asthma, wheezing or a respiratory illness. Details appear in the Archives of Disease in Childhood today (6 March).

The authors explain that most bronchiolitis cases are caused by the respiratory syncytial virus, which can be prevented with a medication called palivizumab in high-risk babies.

Lead author, Dr Helen Skirrow, said: "We know that hospital admissions for bronchiolitis have been rising over recent years in England.

"Previous studies have suggested a link between the condition and an increased risk of conditions such as asthma, but this is the largest study to suggest a severe case of bronchiolitis can result in subsequent emergency admissions for asthma and other respiratory conditions. "

She added: "If we develop interventions to prevent the initial bout of bronchiolitis we may also be able to reduce the number of subsequent emergency admissions."

Co-author Professor Sonia Saxena stated: "Health professionals should counsel parents about benefits of breastfeeding, avoid infant's exposure to tobacco smoke and raise parents’ awareness of when and how to seek help for respiratory problems as their child develops during preschool years."

Skirrow, H. et al. Archives of Disease in Childhood 6 March 2019

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Flu & Viruses | Respiratory | UK News

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