Epidemiology

The rhinoviruses probably cause about half of all cases of common cold and are considered to be one of the most frequent causes of infections in man. Studies in the USA have revealed an infection rate of at least 0.6 per individual per year. The rate is highest among infants and decreases with age. Schoolchildren are considered to be important transmitters of rhinovirus infections. Parents with children in kindergarten or in primary school may have more common cold episodes than single adults. Rhinovirus infections are endemic, but occur most frequently during autumn and spring in temperate climates. Several serotypes can circulate simultaneously in the same population, and it is possible that new serotypes emerge over the years. There is no evidence that some serotypes cause more serious illness or occur more frequently than others.

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