Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2015 Feb;26(1):25-33
Department of Paediatrics, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Background: Rhinitis is common in early childhood, but allergic rhinitis is considered a later manifestation of the atopic march. This study aimed to evaluate rhinitis (allergic and non-allergic) in the first 18 months of life, its link with other atopic manifestations and the role of respiratory viruses.
Methods: Subjects (n = 1237) of the Singapore GUSTO birth cohort were followed up quarterly until 18 months of age with questionnaires to screen for rhinitis symptoms lasting at least 2 wk and with monthly calls to positive subjects to detect prolonged/recurrent rhinitis symptoms (total duration ≥ 4 wk). Anterior nasal swabbing for molecular-based virus detection was conducted during these visits and near (within a month) rhinitis episodes. Skin prick testing to common environmental and food allergens was conducted at the 18 month visit.
Results: Prolonged/recurrent rhinitis was significantly associated with history of parental atopy (mother: aOR = 2.17; father: aOR = 1.82) and atopic comorbidities of eczema (aOR = 2.53) and wheeze (aOR = 4.63) (p < 0.05), though not with allergen sensitization. Although the frequency of nasal respiratory virus detection during scheduled quarterly visits did not differ between prolonged/recurrent rhinitis and matched controls (p > 0.05), virus detection was higher in swabs obtained within a month following rhinitis episodes in prolonged/recurrent rhinitis subjects compared with scheduled visits (adjusted p = 0.04).
Conclusions: Based on the duration of rhinitis symptoms, this study defined a subset of early childhood rhinitis which was associated with atopic predisposition and comorbidities. Persistent respiratory viral shedding may contribute to the symptomatology. Whether this entity is a precursor of subsequent childhood allergic rhinitis will require longer follow-up.