Community-acquired viral respiratory tract infections (RTI) in lung transplant recipients may have a high rate of progression to pneumonia and can be a trigger for immunologically mediated detrimental effects on lung function. A cohort of 100 patients was enrolled from 2001 to 2003 in which 50 patients had clinically diagnosed viral RTI and 50 were asymptomatic. All patients had nasopharyngeal and throat swabs taken for respiratory virus antigen detection, culture and RT-PCR. All patients had pulmonary function tests at regular intervals for 12 months. Rates of rejection, decline in forced expiratory volume (L) in 1 s (FEV-1) and bacterial and fungal superinfection were compared at the 3-month primary endpoint. In the 50 patients with RTI, a microbial etiology was identified in 33 of 50 (66%) and included rhinovirus (9), coronavirus (8), RSV (6), influenza A (5), parainfluenza (4) and human metapneumovirus (1). During the 3-month primary endpoint, 8 of 50 (16%) RTI patients had acute rejection versus 0 of 50 non-RTI patients (p=0.006). The number of patients experiencing a 20% or more decline in FEV-1 by 3 months was 9 of 50 (18%) RTI versus 0 of 50 non-RTI (0%) (p=0.003). In six of these nine patients, the decline in FEV-1 was sustained over a 1-year period consistent with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). Community-acquired respiratory viruses may be associated with the development of acute rejection and BOS.