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Rhinoviruses cause 30%-50% of all common colds and are responsible for more cases of human illness than any other infectious agent. On average, children suffer 6 to 8 colds per year while adults typically range from 2 to 4.
Human Rhinoviruses (HRV) are nonenveloped viruses from the Picornaviridae family that cause upper respiratory tract infections. While "colds" are merely an inconvenience to healthy adults, these infections can pose serious health concerns for young children, elderly individuals and persons with pre-existing health conditions leading to more serious illnesses.
Transmission occurs by touching the mouth, nose or eyes after contact with an infected individual or a contaminated environmental surface. Rhinoviruses can survive on surfaces for several hours and they are very effective pathogens: Up to 95% of individuals exposed to a previously unencountered strain of Rhinovirus become infected, and 75% of this group will become ill. Airborne transmission is also possible as coughs and sneezes spread infected respiratory secretions.
Common cold symptoms are runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat and cough. Treatment consists of relieving symptoms (with decongestants or antihistamines, bed rest, increased fluids, salt water gargles and throat sprays/ lozenges) while letting the immune response run its course.
There are no effective vaccinations for these infections, so it is best to avoid exposure to Rhinovirus. Important prevention steps include diligent hand hygiene; reducing hand contact with mouth, nose and eyes; limiting time with infected individuals; droplet precautions; and environmental disinfection.
An EPA-registered disinfectant with a Rhinovirus claim should be used to disinfect surfaces, especially high-touch areas, to help prevent transmission. *Source: Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 9th Edition; Journal of Infectious Diseases.
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