Respiratory viral infections are the most common triggers of asthma attacks in both children and adults.
Rhinoviruses are most frequently involved.
Mechanisms include direct effects at the airway epithelium, as well as systemic responses.
Currently available treatments are not very effective against virus-induced exacerbations.
To emphasise that respiratory viruses are major triggers of acute asthma exacerbations in both children and adults.
To describe the current understanding of underlying mechanisms.
To discuss possibilities for intervention.
Summary Acute exacerbations of asthma are the major cause of morbidity and mortality of the disease, and one of the most difficult outcomes to prevent and treat. Respiratory viral infections cause >80% of asthma exacerbations in children and >50% in adults. In recent years, an increasing number of studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying asthma exacerbations; however, our understanding is still incomplete. Promising new data suggest the possibility for novel prevention and/or therapeutic strategies. This review aims to increase understanding of the epidemiology, mechanisms and potential treatments for virus-induced asthma exacerbations.
- ©ERS 2006
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