• Adenovirus Infection


    Adenovirus infection is an infection caused by a virus. The infection can lead to:
    • The common cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia
    • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
    • Stomach flu
    • Urinary tract infections
    The infection passes easily from person to person but is rarely serious.


    The infection is caused by a type of virus called an adenovirus. There are several types of these viruses. These viruses are able to infect mucus membranes that are found in:.
    • Respiratory tract
    • Eyes
    • Intestines
    • Urinary tract
    The Upper Respiratory Tract
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    These infections are very common in children. The following factors may increase the risk of an adenovirus infection:
    • Weakened immunity
    • Exposure to a sneeze or cough of an infected person
    • Exposure to the stool of an infected person
    • Living in close contact with others such as military units, schools, or summer camps
    • Handling an object that was exposed to an infected person
    • Exposure to water contaminated with adenovirus


    Symptoms will depend on where the infection is. Symptoms of adenovirus infection may include:
      General symptoms such as:
      • Fever
      • Swollen lymph nodes
      • Headache
      Respiratory symptoms such as: Intestinal symptoms such as: Urinary symptoms such as:
      • Frequent urination
      • Burning, pain, and/or blood in the urine
    • Red, irritated eyes with eye infections


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your doctor may take some samples. The samples will be used to confirm the presence of an adenovirus. The type of sample will depend on your symptoms. Your doctor may test one or more of the following:
    • Mucous from mouth or nose
    • Stool
    • Blood
    • Urine


    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:

    Management of Symptoms

    The following steps may help you be more comfortable:
    • Get plenty of rest
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Use a humidifier or vaporizer
    • Take acetaminophen or other over-the-counter medicines if you have discomfort
    If you have conjunctivitis, your doctor may have you use warm compresses. You may also be asked to use eye ointments or drops.

    Fluid Replacement

    Severe diarrhea or vomiting can lead to dehydration. Fluids may need to be given by IV.

    Medical Treatment

    Infections can be more severe in people with a weak immune system. This may include people with organ transplants, HIV/AIDS, or medical treatments for 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 countertops or toys.
    • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
    • Keep adequate amounts of chlorine in swimming pools. This will help prevent outbreaks of conjunctivitis associated with pools.
    Military personnel aged 17 to 50 years of age may be eligible to get the adenovirus vaccine. It is available in a pill form.


    American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org

    US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov


    About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

    Alberta Children's Services http://www.child.alberta.ca


    Adenoviral pharyngitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated January 19, 2010. Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Adenovirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/index.html . Updated December 27, 2011. Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Adenovirus vaccine. What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-adenovirus.pdf. Updated July 14, 2011. Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Gabbert C, Donohue M, Arnold J, Schwimmer JB. Adenovirus 36 and obesity in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2010 Oct;126(4):721-6.

    Infections: adenovirus. Nemours Foundation Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/adenovirus.html. Updated July 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.

    Kranzler J, Tyler MA, Sonabend AM, et al. Stem cells as delivery vehicles for oncolytic adenoviral virotherapy. Curr Gene Ther. 2009 Oct;9(5):389-95.

    Trei JS, Johns NM, Garner JL, et al. Spread of adenovirus to geographically dispersed military installations, May-October 2007. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 May;16(5):769-75.

    Revision Information

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.