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Chapter 256 Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are increasingly recognized as important pathogens of humans. They cause up to 15% of common colds and are implicated as causes of croup, asthma exacerbations, and lower respiratory tract infections, including bronchiolitis and pneumonia. In addition there is evidence that coronaviruses may be causes of enteritis or colitis in neonates and infants and may be underappreciated as agents of meningitis or encephalitis. The discovery that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by a novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has led to increased surveillance and the recognition of additional human coronaviruses, revealing that new coronaviruses enter human populations from zoonotic vectors such as bats.

Clinical Manifestations

Human coronaviruses OC43 and 229E have been conclusively demonstrated in human volunteer studies to cause respiratory disease, with these viruses and newly identified NL63 and HKU1 strongly implicated in colds, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and croup. The possible role of human coronaviruses in gastrointestinal and neurologic disease is less well-defined and remains to be proven.

Neurologic Disease

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