Bronchitis is usually contagious as it can be caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold, says Vincent Iannelli, M.D. It is typically just as contagious as a cold, and precautions should be taken not to spread it. Some viruses that cause bronchitis include adenoviruses, rhinoviruses and influenza.
Dr. Iannelli explains that acute bronchitis may last from a few days to a few weeks but can linger for a few months. Symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, cough and low-grade fever in the beginning. A productive cough that produces sputum develops later, and wheezing may also be a symptom. If symptoms linger longer than three months and include a chronic cough, an individual may have chronic bronchitis.