Home ColumnsMicrobial World Microbial World with Asmau Ahmad —— Rhino? Not Rhinoceros but Rhinovirus

Microbial World with Asmau Ahmad —— Rhino? Not Rhinoceros but Rhinovirus

by hr

I was in the office with six of my colleagues working throughout the day, I can’t help but to notice one of us sniffing, sneezing, coughing and itching. Throughout the year the cold is pass from one person to another, as I’m speaking now I think the rhino is in my court. My nose feels funny. Why does it go round?

Rhinoviruses are the most common viral infective agents in humans and are the predominant cause of the common cold. Rhinovirus infection proliferates in temperatures between 33–35 °C, the temperatures found in the nose. Although more than 100 viruses can cause a common cold, the rhinovirus is the most common culprit, and it’s highly contagious .The common cold (also known as nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, head cold, or simply a cold) is a viral infectious disease of your upper respiratory tract, your nose and throat. A common cold is usually harmless, although it may not feel that way in some time.


  1. A cold virus enters the body through the mouth, eyes or nose.
  2. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.
  3. It can also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by sharing contaminated objects, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones.
  4. If the eyes, nose or mouth are touched after such contact or exposure, it is likely to catch a cold.
  5. It is typically transmitted via airborne droplets (aerosols), direct contact with infected nasal secretions, or fomites (contaminated objects), however, hand-to-hand and hand-to-surface-to-hand contact seems of more importance than transmission via aerosols.

The viruses may survive for prolonged periods in the environment (over 18 hours for rhinoviruses) and can be picked up by people’s hands and subsequently carried to their eyes or nose where infection occurs. Transmission is common in an office, schools, congested places and daycare due to the proximity of many children with little immunity and frequently poor hygiene. These infections are then brought home to other members of the family. Also, people sitting in close proximity to the infected person appear to be at greater risk.


Symptoms of a common cold usually appear about one to three days after exposure to the rhinovirus. Signs and symptoms of a common cold may include:

  1. Runny or stuffy nose
  2. Itchy or sore throat, cough and congestion
  3. Slight body aches, mild headache and low-grade fever and mild fatigue
  4. Sneezing, watery eyes, low-grade fever and mild fatigue.
  5. The discharge from the nose may become thicker and yellow or green in color as a common cold runs its course.
  6. What makes a cold different from other viral infections is that one generally won’t have a high fever.
  7. It is also unlikely to experience significant fatigue from a common cold.
  8. Rhinovirus caused colds are most infectious during the first three days of symptoms; they are much less infectious afterwards. It is not usually very harmful, but if not attended to can lead to acute ear infection (otitis media), wheezing, sinusitis and other secondary infectionsespecially in children.

The only possibly useful ways to reduce the spread of cold viruses are physical measures such as hand washing. Regular hand washing appears to be most effective in reducing the transmission of cold viruses, especially among children. Wearing face masks when around people who are infected may be beneficial. Routine vitamin C supplements do not reduce the risk or severity of the common cold, though they may reduce its duration.


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