In the Literature: Different environments, different viruses

In a recent article published online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers were interested in knowing whether inner-city children and suburban children had different viruses causing their respiratory infections. Interestingly enough, the researchers were not able to detect as many viruses responsible for the respiratory illnesses of inner-city children, and when they did, an overwhelming majority of the viruses were a type called “adenovirus”. On the other hand, the viruses responsible for the respiratory illnesses in suburban children were HRV (human rhinovirus) and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which are much more common respiratory viruses.

Several studies have suggested that examining the types of virus that cause respiratory illnesses in young infants may give clues as to whether or not these infants will later develop asthma (this is one of the many things the WIND Study is investigating! ). The results of this study raised some interesting questions about why urban and suburban children have different patterns of respiratory illness, and whether these different patterns may affect the different groups’ likelihoods of later developing childhood asthma.


Gern JE, Pappas T, et al. Comparison of the Etiology of Viral and Respiratory Illnesses in Inner-City and Suburban Infants. JID Published online Sept 26 2012.