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 greater than or equal to +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.