Asthma exacerbations may occur due to a variety of triggers including respiratory viruses. The aim of this study was to determine the role of particular viral infections in asthma exacerbations in children.
The study was performed at Dr. Daneshvari Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran between 2014 and 2015. A nasopharyngeal aspirate or swab was obtained from each patient during admission. All samples were maintained at 4 °C until submission to the virology laboratory and were tested for respiratory viruses by nucleic acid testing.
A total of 60 patients with asthma exacerbations were recruited for this study. Of the 60 samples collected from the patients with acute asthma exacerbations, rhinovirus was detected in 12 patients (20%), respiratory syncytial virus in 5 (8%), adenovirus in 5 (8%), and influenza virus in 1 (1.6%). Respiratory pathogens were not detected in 37 (61%) samples. All the samples investigated showed single viral infection.
To conclude, the most common viruses detected were rhinovirus followed by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and adenovirus. RSV was more commonly associated with more severe attacks. Both the study design (e.g., time of sampling, age of the patients, etc.) and also the method used for viral detection influence the frequency of detection of the respiratory viruses.