Killer Cold Virus: Adenovirus Infection (Ad14)

What is adenovirus infection (Ad14)?

A report in the November 16, 2007, issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [MMWR 56(45):1181-1184] noted an unusual number of recent cases of severe pneumonia and deaths caused by adenovirus serotype 14 (Ad14) infection among civilian and military communities. Ad14 is one of the 51 serotypes of adenoviruses.

The MMWR report was based on investigations done by state and city health authorities, the U.S. Air Force, and CDC. The study showed that Ad14 is a rarely reported but emerging serotype of adenovirus that can cause severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease in people of all ages, including healthy young adults. However, Ad 14 infections are uncommon. Most infections from Ad14 are not serious, and severe or fatal outcomes from Ad14 are rare. Thus, the public should not be concerned about the emergence of Ad14.

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

Since Ad14 infections are not common and most Ad14 infections are not serious, the emergence of Ad14 should not be a concern to the general population. During the winter, many other common viral and bacterial infections, including influenza, can present with very similar symptoms. You should not change the criteria you use to decide when to consult your healthcare provider. As with any illness, you should check with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about the seriousness of your illness. For example, you may want to consult your doctor if you have an unusually high fever or fever that lasts more than a few days, have shortness of breath, or are feeling worse over time.

Who is most at risk for complications from adenovirus infection?

Everyone is at risk of adenovirus infection, but patients with weak immune systems or with underlying respiratory or cardiac disease are most at risk for severe complications from any respiratory infection, including adenovirus infections.

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