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Enteroviruses (including rhinoviruses) and parechoviruses 

Enteroviruses (including rhinoviruses) and parechoviruses
Chapter:
Enteroviruses (including rhinoviruses) and parechoviruses
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0064
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date: 26 June 2019

Rhinoviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses that are classified in the genus Enterovirus in the family Picornaviridae. Three species (A, B, and C) and around 160 rhinovirus types have been identified. Multiple rhinovirus types circulate in the population around the year, with epidemic seasons in autumn and spring. Rhinoviruses are transmitted in close contacts via hands or respiratory droplets. The incubation period is usually 1–4 days. Rhinoviruses are the most frequent causative agents of the common cold. Symptoms, such as rhinorrhoea and cough, as well as virus shedding, usually last for 1–2 weeks. A large proportion of otitis media cases in children occur in association with a rhinovirus infection. Upper respiratory tract infection caused by rhinovirus is frequently associated with rhinosinusitis which, in most cases, is self-limiting. Lower respiratory tract infections causing hospitalizations are also common. Rhinovirus is the second most frequent causative agent of bronchiolitis in infants and the most frequent cause of recurrent wheezing illnesses and asthma exacerbations in children. Rhinoviruses can cause viral pneumonia, but often pneumonia is a viral–bacterial co-infection. The laboratory diagnosis is based on reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The treatment is supportive; no antiviral drug is currently available against rhinoviruses. Antibiotics should not be used in uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infections, rhinosinusitis, or wheezing illnesses. Handwashing with soap and water is an efficient method for the prevention of transmission.

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