A new research published in Archives of Disease in Childhood suggests that infants hospitalised with bronchiolitis have an increased risk of further emergency hospital visits. Bronchiolitis is a common chest infection, typically caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) affecting nearly a third of children during the first year of life. Babies aged 3 and 6 months are predominantly affected.
Researchers at the Imperial College London followed-up 613,377 babies from birth till the age of 5 years. Around 16,000 babies had a hospital admission for bronchiolitis before their first birthday. The findings showed that children admitted for bronchiolitis were 5 times more likely to have an emergency admission for asthma, wheezing or a respiratory illness during the first 5 years of life, compared with those not admitted for bronchiolitis. One of 5 children with a hospital admission for bronchiolitis was likely to be hospitalised for asthma, wheeze or respiratory infections later on.
Dr. Helen Skirrow, the lead author said: "If we develop interventions to prevent the initial bout of bronchiolitis – we may also be able to reduce the number of subsequent emergency admissions." According to the researchers, the findings strengthen the need for the development of a vaccine against RSV to help prevent early infections of bronchiolitis.