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

Adenovirus Kapsid
Adenovirus Kapsid


  • 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.


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



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

Resistant to disinfectants

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


  • 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.


  • 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

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.


  • 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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.

Latest research - Adenovirus

Clinical trials


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