Adenovirus Infection

Chest | Pulmonology | Adenovirus Infection (Disease)


Adenovirus infection is a condition that causes illness of the respiratory system. However, depending on the viruses species, they may also cause various other illnesses and conditions like: infection of the stomach and intestine such as gastroenteritis conjunctivitis, cystitis and rash. Adenovirus respiratory diseases include the common cold, pneumonia, croup, and bronchitis. Adenoviruses can also cause urinary or intestinal tract infections.

Adenoviruses are transmitted by direct contact, fecal-oral transmission, and occasionally waterborne transmission. Most adenovirus infections are mild with few symptoms, the most common include: respiratory infections like runny nose, sore throat, fever, severe cough, swollen lymph nodes, headache, feeling of uneasiness, non-productive croupy cough and intestinal tract infections such as abrupt onset of watery diarrhea, fever, abdominal tenderness, swelling of the abdomen. In rare cases, some complications can be caused by an adenovirus. They include: chronic lung disease, severe infections, intussusception, chronic infection of the tonsils and adenoids.

Causes and Risk factors

A person becomes infected with adenovirus through person-to-person exposure via droplets containing the virus expelled by an infected person who coughs or sneezes. When these droplets reach the eyes, nose, or mouth, the virus can attach and infect cells. These infected sites allow the virus to proliferate in some patients, and the virus then may go on to infect other organ systems, especially the lungs. Adenoviruses can survive for days on objects. If a person touches the contaminated item, they can pick up the virus and then transfer it further.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Most infections are mild and require no therapy or only symptomatic treatment. Adenovirus infection is diagnosed in the laboratory by antigen detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), virus isolation, and serology. Since adenovirus can be excreted for prolonged periods, the presence of virus does not necessarily mean it is associated with disease.

Because there is no virus-specific therapy, management for serious adenovirus illness involves only treating symptoms and complications of the infection. Deaths are exceedingly rare but have been reported. ...