Viral infections of the respiratory tract are a common cause of exacerbation in children and adults with asthma.


Viruses commonly implicated:

(1) rhinovirus

(2) respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

(3) adenovirus

(4) coxsackie virus

(5) influenza

(6) parainfluenza

(7) human metapneumovirus

(8) human Boca virus


Risk factors for a viral respiratory infection include:

(1) several small children in the home

(2) outbreak in the community

(3) lack of protective antibodies (either naturally acquired or from vaccination)

(4) immune defects in the host (impaired T cell response, other)


Triggers for an asthma exacerbation in a patient with a viral respiratory infection:

(1) inhalation of an allergen

(2) air pollution, smoke or dust

(3) host response to the viral infection (inflammatory response, release of interferons, etc)


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