University of Oulu

Abate Bekele Belachew, Aino K Rantala, Maritta S Jaakkola, Timo T Hugg, Jouni J K Jaakkola, Asthma and Respiratory Infections From Birth to Young Adulthood: The Espoo Cohort Study, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 192, Issue 3, March 2023, Pages 408–419,

Asthma and respiratory infections from birth to young adulthood : the Espoo Cohort Study

Saved in:
Author: Belachew, Abate Bekele1,2,3,4; Rantala, Aino K.1,2,3; Jaakkola, Maritta S.1,2,3;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia
5Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-11-09


We applied data from a population-based prospective study, the Espoo Cohort Study (n = 2,568), to identify the potential susceptibility of persons with asthma to respiratory tract infections (RTIs). Information on the occurrence of asthma and both upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) was collected with a questionnaire at baseline and at the 6-year and 20-year follow-up studies, and from the Finnish national health registries. We estimated age- and sex-specific incidence rate differences (IRDs) and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) by applying negative binomial regression. Meta-regression was used to summarize the age-specific IRRs from childhood to 27 years of age. Individuals with asthma at any age during the follow-up period had increased risks of both URTIs (adjusted IRD = 72.6 (95% confidence interval (CI): 50.6, 94.7) per 100 person-years; adjusted IRR = 1.27 (95% CI: 1.20, 1.35)) and LRTIs (adjusted IRD = 25.5 (95% CI: 17.9, 33.1); adjusted IRR = 2.87 (95% CI: 2.33, 3.53)) from childhood to young adulthood. In young adulthood, the association between asthma and URTIs was stronger in women than in men, while such an association was not detected for LRTIs. This analysis provides strong evidence that persons with asthma experience more RTIs from preschool age to young adulthood than do those without asthma. Thus, they constitute a susceptible population for RTIs. Women with asthma are at especially high risk.

see all

Series: American journal of epidemiology
ISSN: 0002-9262
ISSN-E: 0002-9262
ISSN-L: 0002-9262
Volume: 192
Issue: 3
Pages: 408 - 419
DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwac210
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (grants 129419 (CLAIH Consortium); 138691 (Genes, Environmental Exposures and Adult-Onset Asthma); 266314, 267675, and 267995 (APTA Consortium); and 310371 and 310372 (GLORIA Consortium)), the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, the University of Oulu Strategic Funds, and Biocenter Oulu. A.K.R. received funding from the European Respiratory Society (fellowship grants STRTF201810-00466 and LTRF201901-00554).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 129419
Detailed Information: 129419 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
138691 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
266314 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
267995 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
310372 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.