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Adenovirus Infections

What are adenoviruses?

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that typically cause respiratory illnesses such as a common cold, conjunctivitis (an infection in the eye), croup, bronchitis, or pneumonia. In children, adenoviruses usually cause infections in the respiratory tract and intestinal tract. Consider the following facts about adenoviruses:

How are adenoviruses transmitted?

The following are the most common ways adenoviruses are transmitted:

What are the symptoms of adenovirus infections?

Most adenovirus infections are mild with few symptoms. The following chart describes the most common symptoms of adenovirus infections. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Respiratory infections (symptoms may develop 2 to 14 days after exposure)

Intestinal tract infections (symptoms may develop 3 to 10 days after exposure); symptoms usually occur in children younger than 4 years and may last 1 to 2 weeks.

symptoms of a common cold - runny nose

abrupt onset of watery diarrhea

sore throat



abdominal tenderness

severe cough


swollen lymph nodes


feeling of uneasiness

non-productive "croupy" cough

The symptoms of adenoviruses may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is an adenovirus infection diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic tests for adenoviruses may include:

Treatment for adenovirus infections:

There is no cure for adenovirus infections. If a child is infected, treatment is supportive and is focused on relieving the symptoms associated with the infection. Because the infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective. Specific treatment for adenovirus infections will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Treatment for respiratory infection may include:

Treatment for intestinal infection may include:

Continue feeding your child solid foods if they are able to tolerate them. Some children may develop severe enough dehydration to require hospitalization. For these children, treatment may include:

Prevention of adenoviruses:

Strict hand washing is important to prevent the spread of adenoviruses to other infants, children, and adults. If your child is in the hospital, healthcare workers will wear special isolation apparel, such as gowns and gloves, when they enter your child's room.

Complications of adenovirus:

Consider the following complications that may develop from an adenovirus infection. Consult your child's physician for more information.

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