Home Medical Topics Adenovirus – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis,

Adenovirus – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis,


Adenovirus is a common virus that can cause a range of cold- or flu-like infections. Researchers have identified about 50 types of adenoviruses that can infect humans. Adenovirus infections occur throughout the year, but they tend to peak in the winter and early spring. Infections range from mild to severe, but serious illness doesn’t happen often.

All ages are susceptible to adenoviruses. Yet youngsters under the age of five are most frequently affected. At childcare centers, adenoviruses commonly transmit to infants and young children. In this environment, babies and kids are in close proximity to one another. Also, they are less likely to often wash their hands and more likely to put things in their mouths.

In crowded settings, adenoviruses can spread among adults. You may have an increased chance of getting the virus if you spend time in a dorm or military housing. Hospitals and nursing homes are places where the virus frequently spreads.

You are more likely to become very unwell from an adenovirus infection if you have a compromised immune system. This covers those who have had organ or stem cell transplantation. HIV/AIDS and cancer patients are also included. You have a higher risk of developing a serious infection if you have heart or respiratory problems.


Depending on the area of your body the virus infects, you may have different signs and symptoms of an adenovirus infection. Your respiratory system is often infected by the virus. Adenovirus infections in the respiratory tract can produce symptoms that are comparable to the flu or the common cold.Symptoms or conditions you may experience include:

  • Cough.
  • Fever.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sore throat (pharyngitis).
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis).
  • Ear infection (otitis media).
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Chest cold (bronchitis).
  • Pneumonia.

Your digestive system might be impacted by adenoviruses as well. Diarrhea may be brought on by a gastrointestinal infection. Another possible is gastroenteritis. Inflammation of the stomach or intestines is known as gastroenteritis. It may result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.

Adenoviruses can more rarely harm your neurological system or bladder. Urinary tract infections can be brought on by viruses in your bladder. Your nervous system can develop illnesses from viruses that can harm your brain. Meningitis and encephalitis are two examples of these ailments.

How long can adenovirus symptoms last?

Most adenovirus symptoms last from a few days to up to two weeks. Severe infections may last longer. You may have symptoms that continue to linger for a while, such as a cough.


There are over 50 different forms of adenoviruses that infect people. Different kinds affect certain bodily parts differently. The virus is very contagious. Those with weakened immune systems and young children are more susceptible to infection.

Adenoviruses are very contagious. They can easily spread through:

  • Close contact: The virus can spread from person to person through shaking hands, kissing or hugging.
  • The air: The virus can spread through sneezing and coughing. Respiratory droplets released in sneezes and coughs can transfer to other people through the air.
  • Surfaces and objects: After touching a contaminated surface, you can get the virus by touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
  • Poop (stool): The virus can spread through the stool of an infected person. For example, you can be infected while changing your baby’s diaper.
  • Water: The virus can spread through unchlorinated water. For instance, if a person infected with an adenovirus swims in a swimming pool without adequate chlorine, they can spread the virus. This type of spread isn’t common though.


  1. Clinical evaluation
  2. For severe disease, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of respiratory secretions and blood

The therapy of an adenovirus infection is seldom impacted by laboratory diagnosis. The virus may often be identified from feces and urine as well as from respiratory and ocular secretions during the acute sickness. A 4-fold elevation in the serum antibody titer can suggest recent adenoviral infection but has limited therapeutic usefulness.

When a patient has a severe illness and a diagnosis is required, PCR testing is helpful because it can find adenovirus DNA in respiratory secretions and blood.


Adenovirus infections are not specifically treated. As most infections are minor, symptom alleviation is all that is needed. Most symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers and fever reducers. Furthermore, remember to get enough of rest and to hydrate well.

Treatment with antiviral drugs is ineffective in those with strong immune systems. An adenovirus is immune to antibiotics.

If you have severe symptoms and/or a weakened immune system, make sure to see your healthcare provider. You may need treatment in the hospital to help you recover from a serious infection. In rare cases, you may need treatment with an antiviral medication such as cidofovir or ribavirin.


The majority of illnesses brought on by types 4 and 7 of adenovirus can be avoided by administering live vaccines containing these viruses orally in an enteric-coated capsule. After several years of being unavailable, the vaccination was once again made available in 2011. Yet, only military people have access to it. Patients between the ages of 17 and 50 may receive it, but those who are pregnant or nursing should not.

Health care providers should avoid using the same ophthalmologic equipment on several patients and change gloves and wash their hands after examining infected patients in order to reduce the spread of infection. Several ordinary disinfectants are ineffective against adenoviruses; thus, bleach-based treatments containing 2000 to 5000 ppm chlorine as well as antimicrobial products that are effective against norovirus are advised. To stop an epidemic of keratoconjunctivitis, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer detailed instructions for cleaning ophthalmologic instruments.

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