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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999 Jan;12(1):9-18.

Association of rhinovirus infections with asthma.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Rhinoviruses are the most common cause of the common cold, but they can cause more severe illnesses in people with underlying lung disorders such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cystic fibrosis. Epidemiologic studies with sensitive detection methods such as PCR have identified rhinovirus infection as a major source of asthma exacerbations in both children and adults, especially during the spring and fall. Since rhinoviruses cause little tissue destruction, it is presumed that the immune response to the infection may play an important role in the pathogenesis of rhinovirus-induced exacerbations of asthma. This review examines the epidemiologic association between rhinovirus infections and exacerbations of asthma and outlines current information on immune responses to rhinovirus infection and potential connections between antiviral responses and preexisting allergic inflammation. Finally, current and future strategies for treating rhinovirus infections and virus-induced exacerbations of asthma are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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