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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2007 Jan-Feb;35(1):4-9.

Role of viruses and atypical bacteria in asthma exacerbations among children in Oporto (Portugal).

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Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de São João, Oporto, Portugal.

Erratum in

  • Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2007 May-Jun;35(3):120.



Upper respiratory tract infections are known to be a significant precipitant of acute asthma exacerbations. The aim of this study was to evaluate seasonal trends and the role of these pathogens in asthma exacerbations in school-aged children from Oporto (Portugal).


Nasal aspirates were collected from children aged 6 to 12 years old with asthma exacerbations attended in the Pediatric Emergency Department one day per week from January 1 to December 31, 2003. Demographic data, severity of asthma and asthma exacerbations, and current treatment were recorded. Samples were obtained through nasal wash with 1 ml saline and were processed by immunofluorescence assays (respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza and influenza virus), retrotranscription polymerase chain reaction (rhinovirus) and polymerase chain reaction (enterovirus, Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae).


In 54 eligible children, 37 nasal samples were obtained. Infectious agents were detected in 78 % of the patients. Rhinovirus was detected in 70.3 %, Mycoplasma pneumoniae in 16.2 %, enterovirus in 10.8 %, and Chlamydia pneumoniae in 2.7 %. Coinfection was identified in 21.6 % of the samples. There was no significant correlation between current treatment status, severity of asthma or exacerbations and the isolated agents. Two distinct peaks of asthma exacerbation were found, 40.5 % in spring and 32.4 % in autumn [corrected] The highest number of cases was recorded in March and the lowest in August and January. Rhinoviruses was detected in 27 % of the cases in autumn and in 24.3 % in spring [corrected]


These results confirm the previously reported high frequency of rhinovirus detection in asthma exacerbations in children and provide evidence that asthma exacerbations and rhinovirus infections follow a seasonal pattern, occurring mostly in spring and autumn. The findings also underscore the frequency of Mycoplasma pneumoniae detection, and emphasize the importance of this agent as a possible trigger of asthma exacerbations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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