As the world recovers from the devastating blow of Covid 19, another virus is shaping up to be a looming threat. We are talking about Adenovirus of the family Adenoviridae. This virus has been on the rise in India, especially in West Bengal. This life-threatening virus causes prolonged flu-like illness in children. As the cases rise, now is a better time than ever to understand the symptoms, causes, preventions and treatments of Adenovirus.
What is Adenovirus?
Adenovirus belongs to the wider Adenoviridae family. The virus itself is relatively small compared to its other family branches. What’s surprising here is that Adenovirus has over 50 different types of mutations which affect the human body, especially children in different ways.
Adenoviruses are non-enveloped with double-stranded DNA that acts as their genetic material. The non-enveloped structure helps them to survive outside a host body for an extended period.
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The most common illness caused by Adenovirus includes respiratory infections, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal infections. Sometimes the effect of Adenovirus can get compounded. A person with a weakened immune system like an HIV AIDS patient or someone undergoing chemotherapy might fall severely ill due to Adenovirus.
How Does Adenovirus Transmit?
Adenoviruses are highly contagious and can use several different means of contamination. It spreads from one person to another through bodily fluids like urine, saliva, and blood. The infected person needs to be quarantined as soon as they show symptoms of prolonged flu combined with a weakened immune system. There are several ways through which Adenovirus can get into a healthy person.
- If a carrier of Adenovirus sneezes or coughs in front of a healthy person, they might get infected with respiratory droplets.
- If a healthy person comes in contact with any surface previously used or touched by the contaminated person.
- If there is any form of physical contact. Especially around the eyes, mouth, or nose.
- Sexual contact with an infected person can also cause Adenovirus to spread. It often leads to secondary genital infections.
- Using the same utensils as used by the infected person.
Symptoms of Adenovirus
The symptoms of Adenovirus differ from variant to variant. Depending on the variant a person contracts, they might notice different symptoms which are completely unrelated to one another. Sometimes the symptoms can even get compounded.
The general symptoms include.
- Cough, fever, runny nose, and chills. These are signs of bronchitis-related Adenovirus infection.
- A sore throat, stuffy nose, and swollen glands might be indicators of respiratory Adenovirus infection.
- Barking cough, trouble, and noise while breathing
- Otitis media
- Diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and stomach pain
- Infection of the urinary tract
- Swelling around the eye
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Among these symptoms, persistent fever and swollen eyes are serious signs of aggravated Adenovirus infection in children. Contact the pediatrician as soon as possible in such cases.
How to Diagnose Adenovirus?
Adenovirus infection can be diagnosed in several ways. All of these involve lab tests and some of which are pretty common due to the similar diagnostic procedure to Covid 19.
Viral culture is the traditional way of detecting the presence of viruses in body fluids. A sample of the patient's bodily fluid, such as blood, urine, or respiratory secretions, can be collected and checked whether there is the presence of Adenovirus in the body.