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Is Bronchitis a Viral Infection?



Bronchitis can be a viral infection.

More Info: Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes that condition is caused by bacteria, chemical irritants, and most often viral infections. [1]

Are Viral and Bacterial Bronchitis Contagious?

Both viral and bacterial bronchitis are infectious.  Common viruses that lead to acute bronchitis are influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the rhinovirus. [1][2]  Common bacteria that can lead to acute bronchitis are Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Klebsiella, and Haemophilus.{1}

Is Irritative Bronchitis Contagious?

Irritative bronchitis due to chemical irritants is not contagious.  With this type of bronchitis, an irritant enters the bronchial tubes and causes inflammation due to irritation.  Common irritants that can lead to acute bronchitis are smoke, dust, ammonia, chlorine, bromine, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. [1]

High Risk Groups

Smokers place themselves at a higher risk for developing bronchitis than non-smokers.  Additional high risk groups include the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, those with extended exposure to lung irritants, and those with illnesses that predispose the lungs to inflammation such as asthmatics and those allergic to airborne chemicals. [2]



[1] Porter, Robert S.. The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Print.

[2] “Bronchitis: Risk factors –” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <>.

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