Wheeze in children linked to bacteria and viruses

Wheezy symptoms in young children are related to bacterial infection, independent of any association with viral infection, a Danish study suggests.

Researchers measured bacteria and virus frequency in children of asthmatic mothers aged 4 weeks to 3 years. They compared samples collected during wheezy episodes to those from planned visits without respiratory symptoms.

Wheezy episodes were associated with both bacterial infection and viral infection, but that the associations were independent of each other.

The study’s authors suggest that their findings could have implications for the treatment of wheezy episodes, but they said that further work is needed.

‘Clinical trials with antibiotic therapy will be required to determine whether this increased detection of bacteria during wheezy episodes has clinical effects that are amenable to modification by appropriate therapy,’ they said.

In the study, wheezy episodes were defined as three consecutive days of wheeze, as assessed by the parents.

Parents were told that wheeze was any symptom that severely affected breathing, including noisy breathing, shortness of breath or a persistent troublesome cough.

After three days of symptoms, parents were asked to bring their children to the research clinic where bacterial or viral samples were taken. Samples were also taken at yearly check-ups, for comparison.

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