Aim: The aim of this study was to determine if asthmatic children have viruses more commonly detected in lower airways during asymptomatic periods than normal children. Methods: Fifty-five asymptomatic children attending elective surgical procedures (14 with stable asthma, 41 normal controls) underwent non-bronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage. Differential cell count and PCR for 13 common viruses were performed. Results: Nineteen (35%) children were positive for at least one virus, with adenovirus being most common. No differences in the proportion of viruses detected were seen between asthmatic and normal ‘control’ children. Viruses other than adenovirus were associated with higher neutrophil counts, suggesting that they caused an inflammatory response in both asthmatics and controls (median BAL neutrophil count, 6.9% for virus detected vs. 1.5% for virus not detected, p = 0.03). Conclusions: Over one-third of asymptomatic children have a detectable virus (most commonly adenovirus) in the lower airway; however, this was not more common in asthmatics. Viruses other than adenovirus were associated with elevated neutrophils suggesting that viral infection can be present during relatively asymptomatic periods in asthmatic children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health