House dust linked with dogs could protect against asthma

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House dust associated with dogs in a home appears to protect against infection from a common respiratory virus that is associated with the development of asthma in children.

A new study, presented at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, used a mouse model to investigate the effect of house dust from homes with dogs.

They examined the effect the dust had on a type of respiratory virus, called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Young children who have a severe infection with this virus have a higher risk of developing childhood asthma.

The results showed that mice given house dust from homes with dogs before being infected with RSV, did not display common symptoms of the virus such as inflammation and mucus. The researchers also found a particular type of bacteria present in the stomach of the mice in this group, which was not present in mice given house dust which wasn’t associated with dogs.

The findings suggest that house dust from homes with dogs, could offer a protection against infection by respiratory viruses.

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