Upper respiratory illness (URI) may cause more frequent acute disability among athletes than all other diseases combined. The purposes of this study were to determine the impact of a rhinovirus-caused URI on resting pulmonary function submaximal exercise responses and on maximal exercise functional capacity. Twenty-four men and 21 women (18-29 yr) of varying fitness levels were assigned to the experimental group (URI), and 10 additional individuals served as a control group (CRL). An initial serological screening was performed on all URI group subjects to exclude those with the rhinovirus 16(HRV 16) antibody. All subjects completed both a baseline pulmonary function test and a graded exercise test to volitional fatigue. URI subjects were inoculated with HRV 16 on two consecutive days within 10 d of completing these tests. The day following the second inoculation (peak of illness), post-inoculation pulmonary function and graded exercise tests were performed. A noninfected control group completed these same pulmonary and exercise tests 1 wk apart. ANOVA identified no significant differences (P < 0.05) at minutes 2, 5, and 8 for the physiological responses measured between the pre- and post-exercise tests for both the URI and CRL groups. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between maximal exercise performance between running trials for either group. There was also no significant interaction between treatment (pre/post URI) and group for any of the pulmonary function measures obtained. In conclusion, physiological responses to pulmonary function testing and submaximal and maximal exercise do not appear to be altered by an URI.