In this discussion the term asthma means an allergic reaction in the bronchial tree, a clinical entity with characteristic symptoms, signs, and pathology.
Infectious asthma must be fitted into the picture and just how this is to be done is not clear. Some believe that an allergic reaction in the bronchi is caused by bacterial products. Others would claim that the bacterial action is irritative and is an additional factor in increasing a previously existing allergic reaction or a potential allergy. Under both hypotheses infectious asthma is at least partly due to an allergic reaction.
The diagnosis of asthma should depend ideally on three criteria: has the patient recurrent wheezing, has he definite signs of the allergic state, and does he have no other condition which could cause the wheezing. According to the first test, the patient should have recurrent wheezing. Wheezing means