Adenovirus 14 Infection (Killer Cold Virus)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

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Adenovirus infection symtoms

What are the symptoms of adenovirus infection?

The viruses are a common cause of infection in humans, but they rarely cause serious or fatal illness. Adenoviruses cause a wide range of illnesses and symptoms, including

  • Colds
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat)
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • Fever
  • Cystitis (bladder inflammation or infection)
  • Rash illness
  • Neurologic disease

Adenovirus 14 (Ad14) facts

  • Adenovirus 14 (Ad14) is termed the killer cold virus because of the high incidence of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the viral strain.
  • Ad14 viruses are passed person to person or picked up from items touched by infected people and then initially invade cells in the eye, nose, or mouth that subsequently allow further spread to other body organs.
  • 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.
  • Ad14 is presumptively diagnosed by history, physical exam, X-ray, and in association with other Ad14-diagnosed patients in the community; definitive diagnosis is completed with isolation of the virus from the patient, a rising titer of antibodies against Ad14, immunofluorescence of Ad14 virus particles in tissues, or fluids and PCR tests.
  • Treatments are mainly supportive; antivirals have been used by some clinicians but there are no studies that prove efficacy, only case reports.
  • Complications of Ad14 are related to the severity of infection; the majority of patients have no complications but hospitalized patients may have mild to serious complications which are related to the organ system most damaged (eyes, GI tract, bladder and most notably, lung problems such as ARDS that may lead to death).
  • The majority of patients have an excellent prognosis; however, about 40% of infected patients may have a wide range of suboptimal outcomes, depending on the severity of the Ad14 infection.
  • Ad14 infections can be reduced or prevented by careful hygiene methods; there is no vaccine currently available against Ad14.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/8/2016

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