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Mar 2023

What is the Adenovirus? Understanding every detail about this dangerous virus

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Mar 06, 2023


After the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus, a different virus is now causing widespread worry among the general public. The pediatric wards of the hospitals are overflowing because of the sudden rise of adenovirus infection cases.

There is no concrete evidence to support that it only affects children, it can affect anyone at any age. According to the health experts, this season has seen a huge number of children infected with this virus. People of all ages can therefore be impacted by the virus, while children aged 5 and younger are at a higher risk of getting infected.

As per the CDC reports, patients with adenovirus infections have symptoms similar to the flu. Due to the current situation, the majority of health professionals have advised the parents to keep a keen eye on any flu-like symptoms in order to effectively treat the infection. Let's analyze the virus more closely.

What is adenovirus?

Adenovirus is a common virus which causes symptoms that are similar to the regular flu. This virus mainly affects the airways of the lungs, nervous system, intestine, linings of the eyes, and urinary tract. The symptoms are mild but can be severe to the patients already having weaker immune systems and heart health.

As per some studies, there are currently close to 50 different types of adenovirus. Any time of the year is a potential time for adenovirus infection, however the winter and spring are often the season of this infection.

What are the symptoms of adenovirus infection?

Depending on the area of your body affected by the virus, you may have different signs or symptoms of adenovirus infection. However, adenovirus usually affects the respiratory system, and a respiratory tract infection can cause symptoms that are comparable to the flu. The common symptoms of adenovirus are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Runny nose
  • Pink eye
  • Ear infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis

The adenovirus also affects the nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. A gastrointestinal infection may cause stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Gastrointestinal infections may also cause gastroenteritis, which is a stomach inflammation. Besides, as the adenovirus affects the nervous system, which can cause meningitis and encephalitis.

When should you visit the doctors right away?

Go to the doctors immediately if your child experiences the following symptoms:

  • Fever that is lasting for four or more days
  • Fever that is higher than 40℃ or 104℉
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling around eyes

When do the symptoms begin to appear and how long do they last?

The symptoms of adenovirus infection may begin to appear after 1 to 10 days of exposure to the virus. The signs and symptoms of this infection could linger for a couple of days to two weeks.

How does the adenovirus spread?

  • Person-to-person transmission: The virus can directly transmit through the close contact of the infected person. You may catch the virus through shaking hands, and hugging.
  • Through the air: Adenovirus can transmit through the air. The respiratory droplets that are released into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs can spread to other people.
  • Through touching objects and surfaces: if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after touching any contaminated object or surface, you could become infected with the virus.

Also remember, adenoviruses are resistant to many disinfectants, this is why these viruses can stay on objects and surfaces for a long time.

How is the adenovirus infection diagnosed?

In order to confirm an adenovirus infection in your child if they are having severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend a number of laboratory tests. They may order:

  • Blood test: The initial and most important step in diagnosing any medical condition is to perform blood testing. A small sample of your child’s blood will be medically tested to find out whether he/she has this infection.
  • Urine test: Urine test can also be required to identify an active adenovirus infection.
  • Swab test: Swab test is a medical procedure where a medical practitioner will insert a cotton swab in your child’s nose to collect a sample of mucus.
  • Stool test: In some adenovirus cases, a stool test might also be required to diagnose an infection.
  • Chest X-ray: After a blood test or swab test, the doctor might also suggest a chest X-ray to determine the severity of the infection in the heart and lungs.

How is the adenovirus infection treated?

There is no specific treatment available to treat an adenovirus infection. Antibiotics do not work well on adenovirus infections. As most adenovirus infections are not severe, doctors provide medicines to treat the adenovirus symptoms.

You can use any pain reliever from the over-the-counter, to relieve the symptoms. Also remember that antiviral medicines do not work on people having a weaker immune and heart health.

What should you do if your child has adenovirus infection?

Childrens having a weaker immune system might need serious medical help to recover. Use these below-mentioned remedies if your child has this infection to keep them feeling better.

  • Give plenty of water: Our human body loses fluids with fever, diarrhea, and vomit. Your child may become dehydrated and lose fluids as a result of this infection. This is why, make sure to keep your child well hydrated by giving plenty of water or 100% fruit juices.
  • Help in clearing congestion: Runny nose and congestion are common in fever but they are very discomforting. To relieve these symptoms, make sure to help your child to blow their nose more frequently. For infants, you can also use a few drops of saline spray into the nose.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier: With this infection, your child may experience congestion as well as breathing issues. A cool-humidifier will help to clear congestion and your child will also breathe freely.
  • Give proper medications: Before giving any medication to your child, make sure to always check with your doctor. Doctors usually recommend using ibuprofen and acetaminophen in order to relieve the symptoms. Do not give any medicine that contains aspirin without your doctor's guidance, as this can lead to Reye's syndrome.

Is there any vaccine available against adenovirus?

No adenovirus vaccines are available for the general public. However, few vaccines of adenoviruses are available only for the military. Only those in the military who are at high risk of getting these viruses are receiving the vaccines.

Since the researchers presently examine the efficacy and safety of this vaccination for the general population, common usage of this vaccination is not yet possible. Research is also being done to see whether this vaccination works well for people having weakened immune systems.

How to reduce your risk of getting this infection?

In this ongoing adenovirus outbreak, it is important to protect yourself and your family by getting this infection. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk of getting adenovirus infection.

  • Make sure to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Practice the use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose if you have not cleaned your hands.
  • Avoid being around people who are sick.
  • Make sure to disinfect your child’s accessories more often.
  • Try to disinfect door knobs and sinks more often.

Take few steps to prevent the spread infections:

If you are already infected with this virus, it is important to take a few steps in order to protect your other family members from getting this infection.

  • Try to stay at home if you suspect that you may have the adenovirus infection.
  • Do not cough or sneeze in your hands. Always make sure to cover your face with your elbow or a tissue while sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not share your used cups, utensils and other objects with anyone.
  • Avoid close contact from people.
  • Wash your hands more frequently, or use a hand sanitizer.

Adenovirus infection is quite common like any viral fever. This infection mostly causes mild symptoms which gets better on their own within a few days. However, people with weakened immune systems and heart may need professional medical help to recover.


  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23022-adenovirus
  • https://www.webmd.com/children/adenovirus-infections
  • https://www.ndtv.com/health/adenovirus-cases-on-rise-in-kolkata-symptoms-transmission-prevention-and-treatment-for-respiratory-infection-3799351
  • https://www.indiatoday.in/health/story/adenovirus-spike-in-west-bengal-what-are-its-symptoms-and-treatment-2337667-2023-02-21