Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate asthma at >13 y of age in children with infantile bronchiolitis or pneumonia.
Methods: In 1981-1982, 127 children at <2 y of age were hospitalized for bronchiolitis (n = 81) or pneumonia (n = 46). Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, eosinophilia and markers of atopy were assessed and recorded on admission. At a median age of 14.9 y, atopic and asthmatic symptoms were screened by a written questionnaire in 98/127 (77%) study subjects.
Results: Asthma was present, according to two definitions, in 14% to 23% in the original bronchiolitis and in 12% to 15% in the original pneumonia group. The figures were 8% to 17% in the RSV infection and 16% to 23% in the non-RSV infection group. Early asthma-predictive factors were repeated wheezing, atopic dermatitis and elevated blood eosinophils. All but one of the teenage asthmatics had allergic rhinitis.
Conclusion: An increased risk for asthma persists until the teenage period after bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infancy. Both early and later atopy were significant risk factors. The present study was unable to demonstrate the association between early RSV infection and teenage asthma.