The family histories relating to asthma and wheezy bronchitis were examined in 77 asthmatic, 78 wheezy bronchitic, and 87 control children, aged between 1 and 12 years. The percentage of children with at least one asthmatic relative was significantly greater in the asthmatic and wheezy bronchitic probands than in the controls; and asthma was more prevalent in the relatives of both groups of wheezy probands than in the relatives of controls. Similarly, the percentage of children with at least one wheezy bronchitic relative tended to be greater in asthmatic and wheezy bronchitic probands than in the controls; and wheezy bronchitis tended to be more prevalent in the relatives of both groups of wheezy probands than in the relatives of controls. However these differences did not reach significance. The strong similarities between asthmatic and wheezy bronchitic children in their family histories of asthma and wheezy bronchitis suggest that these two forms of wheezy illness share a common genetic defect.
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