Adenovirus Infection: Transmission, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment


In 1950, for the first time, Adenovirus was isolated in adenoid tissue. So, the name Adenovirus came from an Adenoid tissue. These cell cultures in the primary stage were found to degenerate with time. Now, Adenovirus infection is known as the factor which causes asymptomatic respiratory tract infection. In simple words, it is also understood as a family of viruses. It creates problems and infections for animals as well as humans. Apart from the respiratory infection, it may also cause many other health problems but it depends on the infecting serotype. The virus can live for a long time outside the host and it can spread all over the year. It has 52 different serotypes which can cause many different syndromes. This virus has the potential to affect multiple organs but it has asymptomatic infections. In humans, the virus cannot be oncogenic but in case of rodents, it is known to be oncogenic. The virus has been associated with large epidemic and pandemic diseases. Proliferating and quiescent cells can be affected by Adenovirus. So it can affect different cells and tissues. Adenovirus’s genome is well known which can be further modified easily. It can be done to create cytotoxicity or lysis in s special cell line, while it won’t affect other cells. Essential genes can be removed from the virus to hamper its ability to replicate. Similarly, special genes also can be inserted into the virus which can solve different problems in the host. Similarly, there are also suicide gene systems which convert the prodrugs into active chemotherapeutic agents systemically. Adenoviral vectors deliver them directly into cancer cells. However, the viral gene therapy has a challenge in itself which is an immune response to the viral vector.

Transmission of Adenovirus Infection

Adenovirus can be transmitted from one person to another by the following means in below-mentioned conditions.

  1. If one has close personal contact with the infected person including body touching or shaking hands.
  2. There is a risk of transmission of this virus when an infected person somebody coughs or sneezes.
  3. When somebody touches something or any surface which has adenovirus in it and after that touches their own eyes, mouth and nose then the virus can easily transmit.
  4. The Adenovirus can also spread from the stool of the infected person.
  5. It can transmit while changing a diaper of the children.
  6. It is a bit rare but this virus also has a possibility to transmit in the swimming pool.

This virus has a unique property which is known as Virus shedding. Sometimes when a person is known to have recovered fully after infection then virus shedding may occur for several months. There may not be noticeable symptoms during this period but it has potential to spread the adenovirus.

Who can be affected?

Any person can be affected by Adenovirus. The symptoms are usually of mild type in a healthy person with a strong immune system. The symptoms recover within a week automatically. But severe complications may be caused in people who have a weak immune system or have other health problems. The children, elderly or pregnant women also have a high risk of transmitting this virus. Similarly, people who have HIV and those who are receiving cancer treatment or Chemotherapy can transmit this virus easily. After an organ transplant, people may be taking an immune suppressant drug which puts them in risk group as well.


Symptoms of Adenovirus Infection

There are various signs and symptoms connected with Adenovirus. Some of the commonly known symptoms of Adenovirus are as given below:

  1. It affects the airway and intestinal tract so it has similar symptoms like a common cold.
  2. The infected person may have a problem with a sore throat and pharyngitis.
  3. In severe conditions, the problem may also develop into pneumonia.
  4. Diarrhea is also a common symptom seen in this case.
  5. Red eye or conjunctivitis is another symptom of this disease.
  6. The person may have complained of fever.
  7. Infection and inflammation in the bladder may occur.
  8. There may be inflammation of the stomach and intestines which we know as gastroenteritis.
  9. Even Neurological diseases can be a possible symptom.

There are rare cases or death caused by Adenovirus but it is mostly the elderly, children, and people with weak immune systems or having other fatal diseases who get affected more by this disease. The incubation period for its infection is 2- 14 days after getting the virus which means it may take up to 2-14 days for symptoms to be seen. It may take 3-10 days in case of intestinal infection for the symptoms to show up. The illness doesn’t last more than a weak while a serious infection may take several weeks too for recovery. Severe conditions may arise in any cases of complications because of adenovirus. Those complications include pneumonia, lung infection, ear infection or meningitis. Brain infection may also be caused because of complication in Adenovirus.


Diagnosis of Adenovirus

This Adenovirus can be diagnosed by medical experts like doctors who study the symptoms carefully as well as the patient history of any other illness. Laboratory tests may also be carried out to confirm the illness. When there is an outbreak of adenovirus infection then those tests are more appropriate. Different tests like Antigen detection or polymerase chain reaction assay may be carried out to diagnose Adenovirus infection. Similarly, virus isolation and serology are also done to properly diagnose the infection. Hemagglutination-inhibition and type-specific antisera neutralization may also be done to achieve Adenovirus typing. It needs to be understood that the adenovirus can remain excreted for a long time but even if the virus may be present it may not be linked with the disease itself.

Preventive measures

No vaccines for Adenovirus infection has been prepared to date so it is best to stay safe from it. A special vaccine against it was approved by the US Food and drug administration but it was specifically prepared for military use. There are various preventive measures which help us to be safe from its infection. Those preventive measures are as listed below:

  1. Properly wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose properly when someone else is sneezing or you are sneezing yourself.
  3. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, and nose when your hands are dirty.
  4. Maintain a safe distance from people who are sick.
  5. If you are suffering from any sickness then stay at home.
  6. Wash your hands regularly if you are working in a school or health-related facility.

It has to be noted that many soaps and disinfectants have no effect on Adenovirus. They have a certain resistance to it because of which the Adenovirus can remain active in different places and objects. They may be in the swimming pool or on some objects. Chlorine must be used in necessary quantity for swimming pools to prevent any kind of Adenovirus caused conjunctivitis outbreak.

Treatment for Adenovirus Infection

There is no exact treatment or medicine discovered for Adenovirus yet. Any treatment is done on the basis of particular symptoms to treat them. Most of the infections caused by Adenovirus are known to be mild. It is necessary to give proper care during infection and it can be recovered simply in around a week unless any complications occur. Antibiotics may be prescribed for any specific complications. For a mild case of Adenovirus infection, enough rest is necessary along with a clean hygiene. Similarly, Paracetamol or Acetaminophen can be relieving in cases of fever. Airway dilator and cool-mist humidifiers can be recommended to treat problems of a blocked and runny nose.

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