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Lung infection may lead to asthma

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

Parents of children at high risk for asthma may want to schedule further medical tests to assess all potential risk factors, as a new study has found that an early childhood lung infection may lead to asthma later in life.

The study, which was conducted on mice, found that individuals that were infected early on with respiratory Chlamydia went on to develop asthma as they grew older.

The research team speculated that the infection may cause a genetic alteration to the immune system which can lead to the production of allergic chemicals in the lungs, a common characteristic of asthma.

Lead investigator, Katir Patel, said that the knowledge may help identify children who are likely to develop asthma at an earlier age, which could allow doctors to initiate better treatment strategies.

"Our data indicate that early-life infections with chlamydia may drive aberrant immune responses ultimately causing chronic infection and inducing asthma disease," says Patel.

Asthma is the most common respiratory illness that affects children, and cases have increased dramatically over the past 20 years.

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