CDC is investigating a possible association between pediatric hepatitis and adenovirus infection. Visit CDC’s NCIRD site for information about the investigation: Children with Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Cause | CDC

Clinicians’ Guidelines

Get clinical guidance for adenovirus PCR and possible additional testing.

Steps to take following diagnosis

Health professionals should:

  • consider adenoviruses as possible causes of upper respiratory infection, lower respiratory infection (such as pneumonia), conjunctivitis (individual cases or outbreaks), and gastroenteritis
  • report clusters of possible adenovirus infections (e.g., respiratory infections, conjunctivitis) to the state or local health department

Methods for testing and typing

Adenovirus infections can be identified in the clinical setting using antigen detection or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Adenovirus PCR testing is most commonly accessible to clinicians by using a multipathogen PCR test (i.e., a PCR test that can test a single respiratory or stool specimen for adenovirus and many other common respiratory or enteric pathogens).

Virus culture can also be used to diagnose adenovirus infections, but these tests are typically reserved for epidemiologic investigations and are less commonly used in clinical settings. Adenovirus (geno)typing is possible and usually done by molecular methods (i.e., full, or partial genomic sequencing).

Adenovirus infections can be asymptomatic

Even if a person has an adenovirus infection, it does not necessarily mean it is causing the person’s particular illness. Also, some people, especially those who have weakened immune systems, can shed the virus for weeks or longer and not have symptoms.