The adenovirus can be the cause behind a great range of illnesses including pinkeye, pneumonia, diarrhea, and even the common cold. In fact, experts estimate that the adenovirus is responsible for approximately 10% of all the acute respiratory infections and illnesses that manifest with a fever in children. An adenovirus laboratory diagnosis is important for determining when a person has been infected with this particular virus, but there are things that can be done to protect yourself and your children. Here’s what you need to know about what the viruses, how it spreads, and how to keep yourself safe.
What Is the Adenovirus?
The adenovirus is actually a whole group of 50 distinct viruses that are able to cause infections in human beings. One of the greatest problems when it comes to dealing with adenoviruses is that they are resistant to disinfectants commonly used at home or even in hospitals. Adenoviruses are commonly detected in the water of swimming pool and small lakes and on objects such as doorknobs and toys.
What Does The Adenovirus Do?
Adenoviruses most commonly manifest in respiratory distress, including bronchitis, croup, pneumonia, and even the common cold. Other types of adenoviruses, though less common, can cause conjunctivitis (pinkeye), gastroenteritis, and even neurological disease.
Who Is at Most Risk of Contracting the Adenovirus?
Those with weakened immune systems are typically at the greatest risk of infection and complications with the adenovirus. Children are often particularly susceptible, as is anyone with a disease that compromises the immune system or who is undergoing a treatment for cancer that can make them more susceptible to illness. In the past, the adenovirus was common among military recruits, although this has been less of an issue since adenovirus laboratory diagnosis identified the problem and a vaccine administration program was instituted in 2011.
How Does the Virus Spread?
Adenoviruses typically spread through close personal contact with a person who has it, through the air when exposed to someone coughing or sneezing, or by touching an object that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth or nose before hands are washed. The virus can also be present in the stool, which is primarily a consideration when changing diapers. The virus is also present in the water of some lakes and pools, but it is much less common to contract an illness through this transmission method.
How Is the Illness Diagnosed?
The Adenovirus causes a wide range of symptoms and illnesses that can make it impossible to distinguish adenoviruses from other causes of fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, or sore throat. Adenovirus laboratory diagnosis is required to make a positive identification. Adenovirus laboratory diagnosis is done by using a lateral flow test at a lateral flow test lab or other facility. Lateral flow tests are a type of rapid immunoassay they can give positive results quickly and with reasonable accuracy.
How Can Adenoviruses Be Prevented?
At present, there is no vaccine that the general public is able to use. Because of the prevalence of this virus among military recruits and because they are at higher risk for infection, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine only for use in military personnel. The best way to protect from this virus is to wash hands frequently and properly, to avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth when hands are not washed, and to avoid having close contact with those who are sick. Proper handwashing must be done with soap and warm water, and hands need to be thoroughly scrubbed for a minimum of 15 seconds and dries with paper towels, not hand dryers. It is also important that swimming pools have adequate chlorine levels to prevent infection.
How Can I Avoid Giving the Virus to Others?
If you are sick, even if you have not had an adenovirus laboratory diagnosis, you should still follow common rules that prevent disease transmission. This includes staying home when sick, not sharing cups with others, washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose whenever coughing or sneezing, and refraining from kissing others.
To protect yourself and others follow common sense hygiene and see a doctor when necessary.