Atwell, J, Chico, M, Vaca, M, Arévalo-Cortes, A, Karron, R, Cooper, PJ. Clin Transl Allergy. 2023;e12291.
There are limited data from non-industrialized settings on the effects of early life viral respiratory disease on childhood respiratory illness. We followed a birth cohort in tropical Ecuador to understand how early viral respiratory disease, in the context of exposures affecting airway inflammation including ascariasis, affect wheezing illness, asthma, and rhinoconjunctivitis in later childhood.
A surveillance cohort nested within a birth cohort was monitored for respiratory infections during the first 2 years in rural Ecuador and followed for 8 years for the development of wheeze and rhinoconjunctivitis. Nasal swabs were examined for viruses by polymerase chain reaction and respiratory symptom data on recent wheeze and rhinoconjunctivitis were collected by periodic questionnaires at 3, 5, and 8 years. Stools from pregnant mothers and periodically from children aged 2 years were examined microscopically for soil-transmitted helminths. Atopy was measured by allergen skin prick testing at 2 years. Spirometry, fractional exhaled nitric oxide measurement, and nasal washes were performed at 8 years. Associations between clinically significant respiratory disease (CSRD) and wheezing or rhinoconjunctivitis at 3, 5, and 8 years were estimated using multivariable logistic regression.
Four hundred and twenty six children were followed of which 67.7% had at least one CSRD episode; 12% had respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)+CSRD and 36% had rhinovirus (RHV)+CSRD. All-cause CSRD was associated with increased wheeze at 3 (OR 2.33 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.23–4.40]) and 5 (OR: 2.12 [95% CI 1.12–4.01]) years. RHV+CSRD was more strongly associated with wheeze at 3 years in STH-infected (STH-infected [OR 13.41, 95% CI 1.56–115.64] vs. uninfected [OR 1.68, 95% CI 0.73–3.84]) and SPT+ (SPT+ [OR 9.42, 95% CI 1.88–47.15] versus SPT- [OR 1.92, 95% CI 0.84–4.38]) children. No associations were observed between CSRD and rhinoconjunctivitis.
CSRD was significantly associated with childhood wheeze with stronger associations observed for RHV+CSRD in SPT+ and STH-infected children.