Numerous preventive strategies against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are undergoing late stage evaluation in humans and, in addition to their intended benefit for acute illness, may impact long term consequences of infection in infants. Severe RSV infection has been repeatedly associated in the literature with long term complications, including impaired lung function, recurrent wheezing, and asthma. However, whether RSV lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) causally affects the odds for developing wheezing and/or asthma during childhood requires further study, and the biological mechanisms underlying this hypothetical progression from viral illness to chronic lung disease are poorly characterized. In this review, we summarize the literature exploring the association between RSV LRTI in infancy and subsequent recurrent wheezing and pediatric asthma.
Keywords: asthma; bronchiolitis; respiratory syncytial virus; wheezing.