• Allergy;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • infant;
  • obstructive bronchitis;
  • prognosis;
  • respiratory syncytial virus

In a prospective study 101 children aged less than 2 years (median age 10 months), were examined the first time they were admitted to a paediatric ward for asthmatic symptoms. Two-thirds were boys and 58 had parents or siblings with allergic symptoms. During winter-spring, respiratory syncytial (RS) virus was verified in 50% of children. Other viral agents were adenovirus, parainfluenza 3, coxsackie B 2, ECHO 6 and rotavirus. At the acute stage, 54% of the children displayed changes on pulmonary X-ray. The total IgE value was geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted+ 2 SD score units in 14 children. At reinvestigation after 3–4.5 years, when the children were aged 3.3–6.3 years, 53% were free from asthmatic symptoms; the median age for the last episode was 2 years. A total of 33% had mild asthma, 8% moderate and 6% severe asthma. The factors which correlated significantly with persistent asthma were: (1) The need for daily medication for at least 6 months. (2) A young age in conjunction with the first wheezing episode and on the first admission to a paediatric ward because of asthmatic symptoms. (3) Other past or present atopic symptoms. Heredity, tobacco smoking at home, having a furry pet, RS virus infection, or high total IgE at the time of the first admission did not correlate significantly with the persistence of asthma 3–4.5 years later. The results emphasize the good overall prognosis of wheezing in early childhood, even when the wheezing is severe enough to lead to inpatient treatment.