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Early-life viral infections and the development of asthma: a target for asthma prevention?

Jackson, Daniel J.

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2014 - Volume 14 - Issue 2 - p 131–136
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000047
PEDIATRIC ASTHMA AND DEVELOPMENT OF ATOPY: Edited by Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani and Leonard B. Bacharier

Purpose of review To discuss the recent insights into the relationships between viral respiratory infections and asthma inception in the context of a long-term goal of moving toward prevention strategies for childhood asthma.

Recent findings There is strong evidence for respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinovirus wheezing illnesses as important risk factors for asthma inception. The mechanisms underlying these relationships have been an intense area of study. Novel approaches for the prevention of virus infections and/or lessening the severity of associated illnesses are at various stages of development, and are important potential tools in efforts aimed at primary and secondary prevention of asthma.

Summary Viral respiratory infections in early life are a major source of morbidity and are critical in the development of asthma. Mechanisms by which these infections lead to asthma inception in susceptible individuals are emerging. Further, there are promising potential interventions currently available that should be tested in clinical trials. The goal of prevention of disease inception is clearly on the horizon.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Correspondence to Daniel J. Jackson, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 600 Highland Avenue CSC K4/936, Madison, WI 53792-9988, USA. Tel: +1 608 263 7686; fax: +1 608 265 2207; e-mail:

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