The Role of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Asthma Flare-Ups in Children: A Hospital-Based Study


ABSTRACT:BACKGROUND:Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract constituting a seriouspublic health problem all over the world. The most common trigger in childhood asthma is viralURTIs. Studies have shown that viruses are associated with 80 to 85% of asthma exacerbations inschool-age children in the community including, rhinovirus, enterovirus, human metapneumovirus,echovirus, RSV and others. (1,2)OBJECTIVE:To study the prevalence of RSV infection in the acute asthmatic flare-ups in children 2-15 yearsof age.PATIENTS AND METHODS:A prospective, age and sex-matched case-control study, examined 90 children aged 2-15 years; 50 ofthem were asthmatics and 40 were non-asthmatics visited the outpatient clinic in the period fromJuly to Dec. 2013. Children who had 3 or more attacks of wheezing LRTI diagnosed bya pediatrician as cases of asthma and showed a definite response to bronchodilator therapy wereincluded in the asthmatic group. Parents and patients were interviewed and a well-structuredquestionnaire that solicited to their demographical and clinical characteristics was used. Bloodsamples were taken from all cases and controls and sent for ELISA test for anti-RSV IgM, IgG andIgA antibodies.RESULTS:There was no significant association between each of the RSV immunoglobulins detected andasthma flare-up between asthmatics and controls. There were no significant associations betweeneach of residence, maternal smoking and history of fever and RSV infection between asthmatics andcontrols.CONCLUSION:There is a minor role in RSV infection as a triggering factor in asthma flare-ups in children aged2-15 years.