(HealthDay News) – Compared with babies living in more suburban locations, those living in inner-city areas tend to have different patterns of viral respiratory illness, according to a study published online Sept 25 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

James E. Gern, MD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 515 infants from four inner-city areas and 285 infants from suburban Madison to compare viral etiology of respiratory illnesses in these groups. Nasal secretions were sampled at age 1 year and during periods of respiratory illness.

The researchers found that infants from inner-city areas had lower rates of viral detection overall. Sick infants from inner-city areas had lower rates of detection of rhinovirus or respiratory syncytial virus. Infants from inner cities had higher rates of adenovirus infection, with a higher proportion of adenovirus-positive samples linked with illness in every urban site (10–21%) compared with Madison (6%).

“These findings could influence acute and chronic respiratory health, and within the ongoing Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma study, the children will be carefully monitored for effects on asthma until the age of 7 years,” the authors write. “These findings also raise additional questions about the etiology of respiratory symptoms in urban infants, particularly with respect to the cause of the respiratory illnesses for which no viruses were detected.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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