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Chronic virus infections supress atopy but not asthma in a set of children from a large latin american city: a cross-section study

Veiga, RV; Cunha, SS; Dattoli, VC; Cruz, ÁC; Cooper, PJ; Rodrigues, LC; Barreto, ML; Alcantara-Neves, NM (2011) Chronic virus infections supress atopy but not asthma in a set of children from a large latin american city: a cross-section study. BMC PULMONARY MEDICINE, 11 (24). ISSN 1471-2466
SGUL Authors: Cooper, Philip John

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Background: The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased over recent decades in affluent countries, but remains low in rural populations and some non-affluent countries. An explanation for these trends is that increased exposure to infections may provide protection against the development of allergy. In this work we investigated the association between exposure to viral infections in children living in urban Brazil and the prevalence of atopy and asthma. Methods: School age children living in poor neighborhoods in the city of Salvador were studied. Data on asthma symptoms and relevant risk factors were obtained by questionnaire. Skin prick tests (SPTs) were performed to seven aeroallergens, and specific IgE was measured to four of these. Viral infections were determined by the presence of specific IgG in serum to Herpes simplex (HSV), Herpes zoster (HZV), Epstein-Barr (EBV), and Hepatitis A(HAV) viruses. Results: A total of 644 (49.7%) children had at least one allergen-specific IgE> 0.35 kU/L and 489 (37.7%) had specific IgE> 0.70 kU/L. A total of 391 (30.2%) children were skin test positive (SPT+), and 295 (22.8%) children were asthmatic. The seroprevalence of viral infections was 88.9% for EBV, 55.4% for HSV, 45.5% for VZV and 17.5% for HAV. Negative associations were observed between SPT+ and HSV (OR = 0.64, CI = 0.51, 0.82) and EBV (OR = 0.63, CI = 0.44, 0.89) infections, but no associations were seen between viral infections and the presence of allergen-specific IgE or asthma. Conclusion: These data do not support previous data showing a protective effect of HAV against atopy, but did show inverse associations between SPT+ (but not specific IgE+) and infections with HSV and EBV. These findings suggest that different viral infections may protect against SPT+ in different settings and may indicate an immunoregulatory role of such infections on immediate hypersensitivity responses. The data provide no support for a protective effect of viral infections against asthma in this population.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright: 2011 Veiga et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Asthma, Brazil, Child, Child, Preschool, Chronic Disease, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Hepatitis A virus, Herpesvirus 3, Human, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Humans, Hypersensitivity, Immediate, Immunoglobulin E, Immunoglobulin G, Logistic Models, Male, Prevalence, Simplexvirus, Urban Population, Virus Diseases, Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Respiratory System, Cardiovascular Medicine And Haematology
SGUL Research Institute / Research Centre: Academic Structure > Infection and Immunity Research Institute (INII)
Journal or Publication Title: BMC PULMONARY MEDICINE
ISSN: 1471-2466
Related URLs:
14 May 2011Published
Web of Science ID: WOS:000208592800024
Publisher's version:

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