Adenoviruses are common viruses that infect the membrane or tissue linings of the eyes, intestines, urinary tract, respiratory tract, and the nervous system. These viruses cause common mild symptoms such as fever, headaches, colds, coughs, sore throats, and pink eye. Adenovirus infection is commonly occurring in children especially in babies and young children, with most having at least one type of infection before the age of 10. It can also occur in adults. Usually, infections caused by adenoviruses result in only mild symptoms and the person infected can get better on their own. However, the symptoms can become severe for people with weak immune systems. These viruses are commonly found in places where there is a large group of children like the school, daycare, and playgrounds. Transmission of these viruses is very contagious since it can spread when droplets containing the virus as a result of coughing or sneezing fly into the air and land on surfaces. When a child touches someone with the virus or touches something held by them and then touches his or her face specially the mouth, nose, and eyes, he or she can catch the virus.


The different types of infection one can get from adenovirus include:

  • Eye infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Stomach and intestine infections (gastroenteritis)
  • Urinary tract infections especially in the bladder
  • Respiratory infections which are more common in the upper respiratory tract showing mild cold symptoms but can also occur in the lower respiratory tract which includes bronchiolitis, croup, or pneumonia
  • Nervous system infections, which include encephalitis and meningitis



The symptoms of an adenovirus infection may include:

  • For eye infections: red eyes, eye discharge, tearing due to a mild inflammation of the surrounding membranes of the eye. It may be accompanied by fever, runny nose, and swollen glands. For severe conditions, it may develop blurry visions, sensitivity to light, and pain.
  • For stomach and intestine infections: fever, headache, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea
  • For bladder infections: frequent urination, burning and pain while urinating, and presence of blood in the urine.
  • For respiratory tract infections: sore throat, runny nose, fever, coughs, colds, and swollen glands. Breathing difficulties may also develop.
  • For nervous system infections: fever, headache, nausea, and stiff neck.


Since the symptoms of adenovirus infection are common and similar to symptoms of other infections, the doctor may conduct one or more laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. This may include:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Mucus test
  • Stool test

An x-ray may also be conducted to have a closer look at the heart and lungs.


Most adenovirus infections are mild and do not need treatment and medication since they can get better on their own. Plenty of rest, drinking enough water, clearing nose congestion, and taking medications for fever may help the child feel better. But for severe cases such as those with weak immune systems, may need to go to the hospital for treatment and help them recover.

Prevention is the greatest cure. To avoid getting adenovirus infection, teach a child of proper handwashing and tell them not to touch their face when they play outside.

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