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Adenovirus Infection

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Adenovirus Infection


Adenovirus is a common virus that can cause:

These infections can be more serious in people who have weak immune systems. Examples are people with AIDS or organ transplants.


Adenoviruses pass from person to person. People get infected from:

  • Inhaling the virus when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Shaking hands with an infected person
  • Exposure to infected stool (poop), water, tissue, or blood
  • Touching an object that contains the virus
The Upper Respiratory Tract.

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Risk Factors

These infections are common in children. Other things that raise the risk are:

  • Being in closed or crowded settings, such as:
    • Long term care homes
    • Schools or summer camps
    • Public swimming pools
  • A weak immune system


Adenoviruses can infect the:

  • Nose, throat, and lungs
  • Eyes
  • Intestines
  • Urinary tract

Symptoms depend on where the infection is. They may include:

  • General symptoms such as:
    • Fever
    • Painless lumps in the neck, underarms, belly, or groin
    • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms such as:
  • Intestinal symptoms such as:
  • Urinary symptoms such as:
    • Urinating (peeing) often
    • Burning, pain, and blood in the urine
  • Red, irritated eyes


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

A sample of body fluids may be taken and tested, such as:

  • Mucous from the throat or nose
  • Stool
  • Blood
  • Urine

People with weak immune systems may need other tests.


Adenovirus infections usually end on their own. People with weak immune systems may need supportive care and other treatments.

Options are:

  • Rest, fluids, moist air, and pain medicines
  • Eye ointments or drops—for conjunctivitis
  • IV fluids—for severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • Special medicines—for people with weak immune systems


Adenovirus may be prevented by:

  • Avoiding contact with infected persons
  • Washing hands often
  • Not touching the nose, mouth, or eyes
  • Washing and cleaning surfaces and objects




  • Adenovirus infections. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/adenovirus-infections.
  • Adenovirus VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/adenovirus.html.
  • Adenoviruses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/index.html.
  • Dotan M, Zion E, et al. Adenovirus can be a serious, life-threatening disease, even in previously healthy children. Acta Paediatr. 2022;111(3):614-619.
  • Infections: adenovirus. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adenovirus.html.


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.