Rhinovirus, cause of the common cold (Picornaviridae family, RNA virus), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Rhinoviruses are seen infecting the surface of a nasal epithelial cell (nasopharynx). The nasopharynx lies behind the nose and above the level of the soft palate. The rhinovirus, or picornavirus, is a tiny icosahedral virus (30nm) that spreads easily in the air by droplets produced by coughing, sneezing. The virus may infect mucous membranes of the nose and also the lungs causing bronchitis. There are no treatments that can kill a rhinovirus. There are over 100 types of rhinoviruses and they cause 30-35% of the common cold in humans. Rhinoviruses can live up to 3 hours on your skin or other objects. Infection occurs rapidly, with the virus adhering to surface receptors within 15 minutes of entering the respiratory tract. The incubation period is generally 8-10 hours before symptoms begin to occur. Magnification: x25,050 when shortest.
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