A remarkably high incidence of bronchiectasis and other pulmonary sequelae was observed in young children affected during an epidemic of severe lower respiratory tract infections apparently caused by adenovirus type 21. The histopathological findings are described in four cases in which one or both lungs were obtained for examination at intervals ranging from two months to three years after the acute infections. Widespread bronchiolar obliteration (bronchiolitis obliterans) was a striking finding in all four. The severity of bronchial inflammation and of bronchiectasis was proportional to the time elapsed since the acute infections. Bronchiolar obliteration is a likely sequel of the necrotizing bronchiolitis which may occur during acute adenovirus infections. The role of bronchiolar obliteration in the pathogenesis of bronchiectasis and other chronic lung disease is discussed. Adenoviruses may be a major cause of post-infectious bronchiectasis in childhood.
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