Laboratory Testing for Adenovirus

What to know

  • Many laboratories can test for human adenoviruses, but the extent of testing capability can vary.
  • If typing or specialized testing is needed, contact your state health department to discuss available testing options.
Specimen Collection

Laboratory guidelines

Laboratories can detect and type human adenoviruses using:

  • Molecular detection (e.g., PCR)
  • Partial or full genome sequencing
  • Antigen detection
  • Virus isolation
  • Virus neutralization with type-specific antisera

Additional information on adenovirus testing at CDC is available at Submitting Specimens to CDC.

Specimen collection

The types of specimens you should collect for human adenovirus detection depend on the patient's clinical presentation and type of infection.

Before collecting any specimens, discuss with a laboratory and a clinician familiar with adenovirus. To improve human adenovirus detection, you should collect specimens within a week of symptom onset.

Respiratory Infections

For respiratory infections, you should typically collect upper respiratory specimens such as a nasopharyngeal swab and/or oropharyngeal (throat) swab. If there is evidence of a lower respiratory infection, you should also collect a lower respiratory specimen such as sputum. In some instances, a serum specimen may be helpful.

Eye Infections

If there is clinical evidence of a conjunctival or eye infection, you should collect a conjunctival swab.

Gastroenteritis Infections

See Recommendations for Collection of Laboratory Specimens Associated with Outbreaks of Gastroenteritis (