About Adenovirus

Adenoviruses are very common and cause illnesses, such as cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, conjunctivitis. Anyone can become infected with adenoviruses, but people with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or cardiac disease are more likely than others to get very sick from an adenovirus infection.

How is it transmitted?

The virus likely spreads from person to person through close personal contact (e.g. touching, shaking hands), coughing, sneezing, and touching contaminated objects or surfaces then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Sometimes the virus can be shed (released from the body) for a long time after a person recovers from an adenovirus infection, especially among people who have weakened immune systems. This “virus shedding” usually occurs without any symptoms, even though the person can still spread adenovirus to other people.

Signs & Symptoms

Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses, such as:

  • Common cold
  • Sore throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhea
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Fever
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Inflammation of stomach and intestines
  • Neurologic disease (conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord)

Adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness, though serious illness is less common. People with weakened immune systems, or existing respiratory or cardiac disease, are at higher risk of developing severe illness from an adenovirus infection.


There is no specific treatment available for people with adenovirus infection. Most cases are mild and may require only self-care to help relieve symptoms.

If you suspect you have an adenovirus infection or have been in close contact with someone infected, call Student Health Service 215-746-3535 and press option 3 to talk with a nurse about your symptoms.


To help prevent the spread of adenoviruses, practice good hygiene:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick



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(updated 11/26/2018)