• Medium-sized (90-100 nm), non-enveloped icosohedral viruses with double-stranded DNA
  • > 50 types of adenoviruses can cause infections in humans
  • Relatively resistant to common disinfectants and environmental conditions

Clinical Features

  • Adenoviruses affect many different organ systems.
    • Most commonly respiratory ill
    • Gastroenteritis
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Cystitis
    • Less commonly central nervous system involvement
  • More severe infection in immunocompromised individuals
  • Transmitted primarily via respiratory droplets, but also by fecal routes

Differential Diagnosis

Viral respiratory illness also caused by:

  • Rhinoviruses
  • Coronaviruses
  • Influenza viruses
  • Parainfluenza viruses
  • Enteroviruses
  • Human metapneumoviruses
  • RSV


  • Typically clinical diagnosis after excluding other possible treatable infection
  • Antigen detection, PCR assay, virus isolation, and serology can be used to identify adenovirus infections, but the presence of virus does not necessarily mean it is associated with disease


  • No virus-specific treatment available
  • Symptomatic treatment only
  • No vaccine available to the public currently
  • Prevention with appropriate hand hygiene, infection control practices, and chlorinated pools


  • Commonly outpatient management
  • Death exceeding rare
  • Complications include necrotizing pneumonia and bronchiolitis obliterans

See Also


<CDC Adenoviruses for health care professionals. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases. April 2015/>

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