by Scholten A


Adenovirus is a common virus that can cause:

These infections can be more serious in those with 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
Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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/or blood in the urine
  • Red, irritated eyes


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

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

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

People with weak immune systems may need other tests.


In general, 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


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics 


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children 

Health Canada 


Adenoviruses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed April 29, 2022.

Adenovirus infections. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 29, 2022

Adenovirus VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed April 29, 2022.

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: Accessed April 29, 2022.

Revision Information