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PLoS One. 2018 Jul 25;13(7):e0199388. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199388. eCollection 2018.

Transmission of rhinovirus in the Utah BIG-LoVE families: Consequences of age and household structure.

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Department of Mathematics and Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States of America.
Department of Pediatrics Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States of America.
Health Sciences Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States of America.



Common cold viruses create significant health and financial burdens, and understanding key loci of transmission would help focus control strategies. This study (1) examines factors that influence when individuals transition from a negative to positive test (acquisition) or a positive to negative test (loss) of rhinovirus (HRV) and other respiratory tract viruses in 26 households followed weekly for one year, (2) investigates evidence for intrahousehold and interhousehold transmission and the characteristics of individuals implicated in transmission, and (3) builds data-based simulation models to identify factors that most strongly affect patterns of prevalence.


We detected HRV, coronavirus, paramyxovirus, influenza and bocavirus with the FilmArray polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platform (BioFire Diagnostics, LLC). We used logistic regression to find covariates affecting acquisition or loss of HRV including demographic characteristics of individuals, their household, their current infection status, and prevalence within their household and across the population. We apply generalized linear mixed models to test robustness of results.


Acquisition of HRV was less probable in older individuals and those infected with a coronavirus, and higher with a higher proportion of other household members infected. Loss of HRV is reduced with a higher proportion of other household members infected. Within households, only children and symptomatic individuals show evidence for transmission, while between households only a higher number of infected older children (ages 5-19) increases the probability of acquisition. Coronaviruses, paramyxoviruses and bocavirus also show evidence of intrahousehold transmission. Simulations show that age-dependent susceptibility and transmission have the largest effects on mean HRV prevalence.


Children are most likely to acquire and most likely to transmit HRV both within and between households, with infectiousness concentrated in symptomatic children. Simulations predict that the spread of HRV and other respiratory tract viruses can be reduced but not eliminated by practices within the home.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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Conflict of interest statement

C. L. B., K. A., and A. T. P. are investigators on NIH-funded studies in collaboration with BioFire Diagnostics. C. L. B. has intellectual property in and receives royalties from BioFire Diagnostics. A. T. P. has served as a consultant for BioFire Diagnostics. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials. All other authors report no potential conflicts.

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