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The World in Medicine
November 21, 2007

Childhood Asthma Risk

JAMA. 2007;298(19):2254. doi:10.1001/jama.298.19.2254-d

One-month-old infants whose throats are colonized by certain bacteria are at substantially increased risk for recurrent wheeze and asthma, according to a prospective longitudinal birth-cohort study by Danish researchers (Bisgaard H et al. N Engl J Med. 2007;357[15]:1487-1495).

Participants were 321 children enrolled in the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood birth cohort who were born to mothers with asthma, 21% of whom were colonized with Streptococcus pneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, or a combination of these organisms. Colonization was associated with persistent wheeze, acute exacerbation of wheeze, hospitalization for wheeze, and asthma at age 5 years (with a hazard ratio of 2.40, 2.99, 3.85, and 4.57, respectively). Prevalence of asthma was 33% in colonized children and 10% in those who were not colonized.