Hospitalization for RSV bronchiolitis before 12 months of age and subsequent asthma, atopy and wheeze: A longitudinal birth cohort study


John Henderson, Department of Clinical Science at South Bristol, University of Bristol, Education Centre, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8AE, UK
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Several epidemiological studies have reported recurrent wheezing and asthma in children after respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis in infancy. The relationship with allergic sensitization is less clear and recent evidence suggests an interaction between atopy and RSV infection in the development of asthma. Data from a large, population-based, birth-cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) were used to compare outcomes of children according to whether or not they had been admitted to hospital in the first 12 months with RSV-proven bronchiolitis. Outcomes considered were 12-month prevalence of wheeze at two ages (between 30–42 and 69–81 months), cumulative prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma at 91 months and skin prick test defined atopy at 7 yr. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios for outcomes adjusted for potential confounders. A total of 150 infants (1.1% of the cohort) were admitted to hospital within 12 months of birth with RSV bronchiolitis. The prevalence of wheezing was 28.1% in the RSV group and 13.1% in controls at 30–42 months and 22.6% vs. 9.6% at 69–81 months. The cumulative prevalence of asthma was 38.4% in the RSV group and 20.1% in controls at 91 months. Atopy was found in 14.6% of the RSV group and in 20.7% of controls at 7 yr. RSV bronchiolitis was associated with subsequent wheezing between 30–42 (Odds ratio [95% CI] 2.3 [1.3, 3.9]) and 69–81 months (OR 3.5 [1.8, 6.6]) and with the cumulative prevalence of asthma at 91 months (OR 2.5 [1.4, 4.3]) but not with atopy (OR 0.7 [0.2, 1.7]). In a population-based birth cohort, RSV bronchiolitis was associated with subsequent wheezing and asthma but not with the development of atopy by age 7 yr.