A recent study finds that almostĀ one in five babies has a respiratory virus in their first month of life but many do not exhibit signs of illness.

The University of Queensland study worked with 157 healthy full-term infants born in Brisbane, and their families, from September 2010 to October 2012.

“Respiratory viruses are common in healthy babies and often go unrecognized,” said PhD candidate Minda Sarna from the UQ Child Health Research Centre. “The few studies describing respiratory viruses in newborns are predominantly from neonatal units or newborns presenting to hospitals, yet there has been little research in healthy infants in their first four weeks.”

“High-risk birth cohort studies have found a close relationship between respiratory viruses in infancy and asthma development.”

A recent Danish study showed that even without symptoms, early exposure to viruses may influence future respiratory health.

Photo Courtesy of University of Queensland

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