Bronchiolitis: can adults catch the disease?

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Bronchiolitis strikes very severely in France, to the point that many pediatric departments are saturated with infants. However, adults can also contract this disease. La Dépêche takes stock.

Although bronchiolitis is very often associated with infants, it can also affect adults. As a reminder, this infection, of viral origin, is most often caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This virus is potentially serious for young children (infant bronchiolitis in particular) but also has an impact on the elderly.

Most of the time, adults are protected against RSV, but two types of bronchiolitis can still affect them. The first, acute infectious bronchiolitis, is often caused by the flu virus or other bacteria. This infection is extremely rare. The second, more common in adults, is chronic inflammatory bronchiolitis.

Symptoms of this infection are most often manifested by cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea) and fever. To deal with it, the doctors put in place a treatment but also recommend to rest well. “When bronchiolitis is of infectious origin in adults, it sets in quite suddenly, with fever. Conversely, when it is inflammatory, the development is progressive, it takes place over several weeks with mainly a cough and dyspnoea”, explains Dr Jean-Philippe Santoni, pulmonologist, at the Women’s Journal.

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