Adenovirus: what is it, transmission, symptoms

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adenovirus are virus belonging to the Adenoviridae family. They are able to affect different animals, including humans. In humans, they can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary and eye infections. They are one of the viruses responsible for causing the common cold.

In general, diseases caused by adenoviruses are mild, and people recover on their own, without further complications. Serious cases, however, can arise. There is no specific treatment for diseases caused by adenovirus.

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Topics in this article

  • 1 - What is adenovirus?
  • 2 - What can adenoviruses cause?
  • 3 - What is the relationship between adenoviruses and the common cold?
  • 4 - What is the relationship between adenoviruses and hepatitis with no known cause in children?
  • 5 - What are the symptoms of adenovirus infections?
  • 6 - How is the transmission of adenoviruses?
  • 7 - Is there treatment for infections caused by adenovirus?

What is adenovirus?

adenoviruses are a group of viruses belonging to the family

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Adenoviridae, which have already been isolated from a large number of vertebrate animals, how mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes.

The human types of adenoviruses stand out for being non-enveloped viruses, with icosahedral symmetry and genome in DNA of double tape. There are different serotypes, some being more virulent than others.

the adenoviruses were first isolated in 1953 by virologist Rowe and his colleagues as they tried to determine the causative agent of an acute respiratory infection. At the time, the authors observed and described an agent that caused spontaneous degeneration in cells derived from human adenoid tissue.

In 1954, Hillerman and Werner noticed the presence of a similar agent when studying an epidemic of respiratory disease in military recruits. In 1956, Enders and colleagues began to call this agent adenovirus.

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What can adenoviruses cause?

Adenoviruses are responsible for affecting mainly immunocompromised children and adults. In this last group, the diseases tend to present themselves in a more serious way, since the immune system of the individual is not able to adequately fight the infection.

These viruses are related to different health problems, including:

  • acute respiratory tract infection;

  • cystitis hemorrhagic;

  • diarrhea in children;

  • conjunctivitis;

  • meningoencephalitis;

  • liver failure in immunocompromised patients;

  • pneumonias fatal in neonates (newborns that are not yet one month old).

How are adenoviruses related to the common cold?

Adenoviruses, as noted above, can cause respiratory infections, being one of the viruses responsible for triggering the common cold. In addition to adenoviruses, coronavirus and rhinoviruses can also cause the disease.

Patients with the common cold experience symptoms such as runny nose, nasal obstruction, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. There is no specific treatment for a cold, and rest, hydration and nasal hygiene are recommended. In case of fever, the use of antipyretics may be recommended.

What is the relationship between adenoviruses and hepatitis with no known cause in children?

Adenoviruses have been identified as possible causing an outbreak of hepatitis in children in the year 2022. Until May of the same year, it had not yet been confirmed whether the adenovirus was really responsible for the problem, however, this was one of the main hypotheses. Although adenoviruses are not responsible for causing hepatitis frequently, this is a rare complication that is already known.

Other lines of research link the hepatitis outbreak with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. It is also worth noting that the vaccine against covid-19 is not related to the problem, since most children with hepatitis had not been vaccinated.

Know more: Rotavirus — the virus that causes an infection that can cause severe dehydration and even death

What are the symptoms of adenovirus infections?

Most adenovirus infections are asymptomatic, that is, they do not cause symptoms in the individual. However, in certain situations, symptoms can be identified. In respiratory infections, there may be cough, runny nose, headaches and in throat.

Intestinal conditions, in turn, can lead to the development of stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Conjunctivitis caused by adenovirus can cause tearing, red eyes, and photophobia

How are adenoviruses transmitted?

Transmission of adenoviruses occurs in different ways, and may occur through direct contact with the infected individual, aerosóis or fecal-oral route. Therefore, diseases caused by adenovirus can be prevented by adopting simple measures, such as always washing your hands and avoiding close contact with sick people. It is also important to cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze to avoid spreading the disease to other people.

Is there treatment for adenovirus infections?

Until the moment, there are no specific treatments to treat adenovirus infections, and the spontaneous healing of the patient is usually observed. In general, in these cases rest and hydration are recommended.

By Vanessa Sardinha dos Santos
Biology teacher
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