There are increasing data to support the "hygiene" and "microbiota" hypotheses of a protective role of infections in modulating the risk of subsequent development of asthma. There is less evidence that respiratory infections can actually cause the development of asthma. There is some evidence that rhinovirus respiratory infections are associated with the development of asthma, particularly in childhood, whereas these infections in later life seem to have a weaker association with the development of asthma. The role of bacterial infections in chronic asthma remains unclear. This article reviews the available evidence indicating that asthma may be considered as a chronic infectious disease. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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