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Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that typically cause respiratory illnesses, such as a common cold, conjunctivitis (an infection in the eye that is sometimes called pink eye), croup, bronchitis, or pneumonia. In children, adenoviruses usually cause infections in the respiratory tract and intestinal tract. The most common infections caused by adenoviruses are respiratory tract infections. An infection usually manifests with symptoms similar to a common cold.
Symptoms and signs resemble those of a cold (cough, runny nose, mild fever) for about three to five days; the majority of people clear the disease, but up to about 40% may need hospitalization with severe symptoms of pneumonia, and shortness of breath; other organ related symptoms may develop such as eye, bladder, and GI problems. There is no adenovirus-specific therapy and the infection usually resolves by itself.
According to a study in Finland, the principal adenovirus serotypes were type 2 (13 [15%] of 87 strains), type 3 (13 [15%]), and type 7 (36 [41%]). Of the 87 infections, 62 (71%) occurred in children <2 years of age, and 81 (94%) occurred in children <5 years of age.