NCR Update: Combatting Adenovirus Transmission in Community Settings
Adenoviruses are common viruses that can result in a range of infections but pose a greater risk to those with weakened immune systems. An outbreak of the virus infected at least 40 people at the University of Maryland since early November and led to the death of one student. The NJ Department of Health is investigating a recent adenovirus outbreak at a nursing home and a pediatric facility that sickened 54 individuals and caused 11 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses: the common cold, conjunctivitis (pink eye), pneumonia, digestive tract infections, and neurological diseases. Individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of developing a serious illness, possibly resulting in death.
There is a greater risk of exposure and transmission of adenoviruses in closed or crowded settings, to include health care facilities, schools, dormitories, and among military populations. Adenoviruses are resistant to several disinfectants and can remain infectious for long periods on frequently touched surfaces, according to the CDC.
Preventing and Treating Adenovirus Infections
According to public health authorities, there is no specific treatment for adenovirus infection. Most adenovirus infections are mild and do not require any medical care. However, if you are regularly in populous community settings, consider the following precautions, and contact your health care provider if you experience adenovirus symptoms.
Wash your hands often with soap and water;
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick; and
Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others.
Address symptoms through supportive measures such as: rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medicines to manage fever or discomfort.
Cidofovir, an antiviral medication, has been used to treat severe adenovirus infections in people with immunocompromised systems in specific situations.