We examined, in a 2-year prospective study, the frequency of respiratory viral infections in 19 school-age patients with cystic fibrosis and their unaffected siblings. At 2-month intervals throughout the study period, pulmonary function tests, oropharyngeal cultures, and serologic tests for respiratory viruses were performed in all subjects. Quantitative sputum cultures for bacteria were performed in subjects with cystic fibrosis. The same laboratory specimens were also collected at the time of all acute respiratory illnesses. Over the 2-year period, 398 viral cultures and serum samples were collected, 210 from patients with cystic fibrosis and 188 from their siblings. The frequency of culture-documented and seropositive viral infections was not significantly different between patients with cystic fibrosis and their siblings. The patients with the highest frequency of viral infection were younger and had the lowest rate of decline in lung function and severity score. We conclude that school-age patients with cystic fibrosis are no more susceptible to viral infections than their unaffected siblings. We were unable to demonstrate any significant adverse effect of respiratory viral infections on pulmonary function in 19 patients with cystic fibrosis aged 5 to 21 years.