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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Aug;106(2):201-12.

The role of viral infections in the natural history of asthma.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, USA.


Viral infections have been related to the inception of recurrent wheezing illnesses and asthma in infants and are probably the most frequent cause of exacerbations of established disease in older children and adults. The well-recognized clinical effects of viral infections are mainly caused by virus-induced immune responses. Clinical studies of natural and experimentally induced viral infections have led to the identification of mechanisms of inflammation that could be involved in producing airway obstruction and lower airway symptoms. In addition, host factors that are associated with more vigorous viral replication or severe clinical illness are beginning to be identified. Advances in molecular virology and our understanding of immune responses to viral infections may lead to the development of new strategies for the prevention and treatment of virus-induced respiratory disorders.

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