Children born into allergic families, with two allergic parents, are at high risk of developing allergy within the first 5 years of life. In order to observe possible external factors in the sensitization process, a prospective study of 13 such children was done, in which serial clinical and immunologic observations were made at 3- to 6-month intervals over a period of 1 to 4 yr. Eleven of these children are now clinically allergic; 5 have asthma. Immunologic evidence for allergic sensitization was observed in these 11 children by RAST, antigen-induced leukocyte histamine release, lymphoblastogenesis, and rise in serum IgE. Upper respiratory infections (URI) occurred in these 11 allergic children 1 to 2 months prior to the onset of allergic sensitization. In 10 of these 11 URI children, complement-fixing antibodies to viruses (parainfluenza, RSV, CMV) increased in the same blood samples in which immunologic allergic sensitization was first evidenced. This coincidence suggests that certain viruses may contribute to the allergic sensitization process.