The infection is caused by a type of virus called an adenovirus. There are several types of these viruses. The infection passes easily from person to person, but is rarely serious.
The Upper Respiratory Tract
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These infections are common in children.
Other factors that may increase your chance of an adenovirus infection: Weak immune systemExposure to a sneeze or cough of an infected personExposure to the stool of an infected personLiving in close contact with others such as military units, schools, or summer campsHandling an object that was exposed to an infected personExposure to water contaminated with adenovirus
Adenoviruses are able to infect mucus membranes that are found in the: Respiratory tractEyesIntestinesUrinary tract
Symptoms will depend on where the infection is. Symptoms of adenovirus infection may include:
General symptoms such as:
FeverSwollen lymph nodesHeadache
Respiratory symptoms such as:
Sore throatRunny noseCough
Intestinal symptoms such as:
Urinary symptoms such as:
Frequent urinationBurning, pain, and/or blood in the urineRed, irritated eyes
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done by taking samples of: Mucous from throat or noseStoolBloodUrine
There are no specific treatments for adenoviruses.
The infections will usually end on their own. Support treatment may be needed with severe infections. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you.
Treatment options include:
The following steps may help you be more comfortable: Get plenty of rest.Drink plenty of fluids.Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
over-the-counter pain medications
if you have discomfort.
If you have conjunctivitis, your doctor may have you use warm compresses. You may also be given eye ointments or drops.
Severe diarrhea or vomiting can lead to dehydration. Fluids may need to be given by IV.
Infections can be more severe in people with a weak immune system. This may include people with organ transplants, HIV/AIDS, or chronic diseases. Medication may be needed to reduce the intensity of the infection. Talk to your doctor if you have a weakened immune system.
The best way to prevent adenovirus infection is to: Avoid contact with infected persons.Wash hands often.Wash and clean common surfaces, such as counters and toys.Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Military personnel aged 17-50 years old may be eligible to get the adenovirus vaccine. It is available in a pill form.
Adenoviruses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/index.html. Updated December 27, 2011. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Adenovirus VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/adenovirus.html. Updated June 11, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Gabbert C, Donohue M, et al. Adenovirus 36 and obesity in
children and adolescents.
Infections: adenovirus. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at:
Updated July 2012. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Kranzler J, Tyler MA, et al. Stem cells as
delivery vehicles for oncolytic adenoviral virotherapy.
Curr Gene Ther. 2009;9(5):389-395.
Trei JS, Johns NM, et al. Spread of adenovirus to geographically dispersed military
installations, May-October 2007.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2010;16(5):769-775.
Last reviewed September 2016 by David Horn, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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