Master Rhinovirus with Picmonic for Medicine

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Rhinovirus is a picornavirus which classically causes the common cold. Unlike other picornaviruses, rhinovirus is not an enterovirus that can survive in the gut. Instead, rhinovirus is readily destroyed by stomach acid making it unique to the family of picornaviruses. There are over 100 serologic types of rhinovirus making it very hard to immunize against it.  Clinicians should expect the virus when a patient presents with upper respiratory symptoms but lacks gastrointestinal complaints.  

Rhinovirus belongs to the classification of picornavirus, which is defined by non-enveloped, positive stranded RNA virus.

Cause of Common Cold

Rhinovirus is the most common cause of the common cold.

More than 100 Serologic Types
Hundreds of different looking rhinos

There are over 100 serologic types of rhinovirus. This fact is important because it makes it very difficult to immunize against, and also explains why patients continue to get the common cold despite developing antibodies to one serologic type of the virus.

Destroyed by Stomach Acid
Stomach squeezing an Acidic-lemon and destroying rhinos

The rhinovirus is killed by low pH environments which means it is killed within the GI tract, and is unable to cause enteritis unlike the other viruses in the picornavirus family.


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