Common cold can sometimes cause severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis, says a study that for the first time determined age-specific rate of hospitalisation.
Rhinoviruses are among the most common viral infections and are responsible for at least 50 percent of all common colds.
Although the association between rhinoviruses and other acute respiratory illnesses in children is increasingly accepted and has been shown earlier, the new study is the first to determine age-specific rates of hospitalisation, reported Medical News Today.
The study - published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases - shows that the link between rhinoviruses and hospitalisations is especially strong when children have a history of wheezing or asthma.
E. Kathryn Miller and colleagues at Vanderbilt University, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Rochester studied children under the age of five years admitted with fever and respiratory symptoms in Davidson County and Monroe County, New York, over a one-year period.
The results showed that of the 592 children involved in the study, 26 percent tested positive for rhinovirus, representing almost five rhinovirus-associated hospitalisations per 1,000 children.
The study detected more rhinoviruses (26 percent) than respiratory syncytial viruses (20 percent), which have been considered the major cause of respiratory infections in infants and children.
These findings are particularly important given the age-specific rates of hospitalisation observed. Among children zero to five months, there were 17.6 hospitalisations per 1,000; among those age six-23 months, 6.0 hospitalisations; and among those 24-59 months, 2.0 hospitalisations.
Miller said: 'This study shows that rhinoviruses are associated with hospitalisations for fever and respiratory illnesses, even in young infants.'
Children with a history of wheezing or asthma had more than eight times as many rhinovirus-associated hospitalisations than those without such a history, the study added.