From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Adenovirus is pronounced A-den-oh-VY-rus

Adenovirus Kapsid
Adenovirus Kapsid

Definition[edit | edit source]

  • A member of a family of viruses that can cause infections in the respiratory tract, eye, and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Forms of adenoviruses that do not cause disease are used in gene therapy.
  • They carry genes that may fix defects in cells or kill cancer cells.

Virology[edit | edit source]

Adenoviruses are medium-sized (90-100 nm), non-enveloped icosohedral viruses with double-stranded DNA.


Types[edit | edit source]

More than 50 types of immunologically distinct adenoviruses can cause infections in humans.

Resistant to disinfectants[edit | edit source]

Adenoviruses are relatively resistant to common disinfectants and can be detected on surfaces, such as doorknobs, objects, and water of swimming pools and small lakes.

Gene therapy
Gene therapy

Pathophysiology[edit | edit source]

  • Adenoviruses most commonly cause respiratory illness.
  • The illnesses can range from the common cold to pneumonia, croup, and bronchitis.
  • Depending on the type, adenoviruses can cause other illnesses such as gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, cystitis, and, less commonly, neurological disease.

Immunocompromised[edit | edit source]

  • People with weakened immune systems are at high risk for developing severe illness caused by adenovirus infection.
  • Some people infected with adenoviruses, especially those who have weakened immune systems, can have ongoing infections in their tonsils, adenoids, and intestines that do not cause symptoms.
  • They can shed the virus for weeks or longer.

Healthcare associated infection[edit | edit source]

Adenovirus D26
Adenovirus D26

To prevent healthcare-associated outbreaks of adenovirus infections, such as epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, health care providers should strictly follow infection control practices, including:

  • contact and droplet precautions
  • environmental cleaning
  • promptly respond to and report clusters of cases
  • For suspected cases of pneumonia caused by adenovirus infection, healthcare providers should follow the guidelines for preventing healthcare-associated pneumonia.
  • Adenoviruses have historically been a common cause of acute respiratory illness in military recruits, although the frequency has significantly decreased since the reinstitution in March 2011 of adenovirus vaccine administration.

Infectivity[edit | edit source]

  • Adenoviruses are resistant to many common disinfectants and can remain infectious for long periods on environmental surfaces and medical instruments.
  • To prevent spread of adenoviruses use an EPA-registered disinfectant on surfaces that is effective at killing adenoviruses and compatible with the surfaces and equipment.
  • Disinfectants effective against norovirus should also be effective against adenoviruses.
Adenovirus NIH
Adenovirus NIH

Prevention[edit | edit source]

There is no specific action to take to prevent AFM.

You can decrease risk of getting viral infections by:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching face with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve, not hands
  • Keeping sick children at home

Vaccination[edit | edit source]

  • Currently, there is no adenovirus vaccine available for the general public.
  • A live, oral vaccine against adenovirus types 4 and 7 is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for U.S. military personnel ages 17 through 50 who may be at higher risk for infection from these two adenovirus types.
  • The vaccine is recommended by the U.S. Department of Defense for military recruits entering basic training in order to prevent acute respiratory disease.
  • It may also be recommended for other military personnel at high risk for adenovirus infection.

Treatment[edit | edit source]

  • There is no specific treatment for people with adenovirus infection.
  • Most adenovirus infections are mild and don’t require any medical care; clinical care of adenovirus infections includes treatment of symptoms and complications.
  • Cidofovir has been used to treat severe adenovirus infections in people with immunocompromised systems in specific situations, however there are no FDA-approved antiviral drugs for adenovirus treatment.

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Adenovirus Resources
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD