After Covid and dengue, adenovirus is a major concern in several countries around the world. The illness has claimed the lives of 11 children in West Bengal, with more cases being reported every day. Health officials in the city have asked people to take proper precautions and look out for symptoms to safeguard their children and themselves against the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adenovirus causes respiratory illness or conjunctivitis, which can occur at any time of the year. Healthshots asked Dr Ankita Baidya, Consultant Infectious Disease at HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, Delhi to share all about the disease.
What is adenovirus?
Adenoviruses are DNA viruses that after infection multiply in our respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal system. They are common viruses that cause cold-like symptoms that may affect people, explains Dr Baidya. In most cases of adenovirus, people may experience the common cold, pink eye, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis. However, it may not cause a severe illness as per CDC.
Symptoms of adenovirus
Adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness, despite the rarity of serious illness. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adenovirus infections can result in significant illness in those who already have respiratory or cardiac disease, have weakened immune systems, or both. You may experience the following symptoms if infected with adenovirus, as pointed out by the expert:
- Common cold
- Loose motions
- Abdominal comfort
Just like any other viral infection, these are the common symptoms that we see with the adenovirus infection along with fever. The symptoms of the illness are more common in children than in adults.
Is adenovirus a communicable disease?
Adenovirus is a highly contagious illness, especially during the initial days of the virus. Some patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems, might harbour the virus for weeks or longer in their tonsils, adenoids, or intestines. These individuals may not exhibit any symptoms, but they can still transmit the infection to others.
Treatment of adenovirus
Dr Baidya shares that there is no dedicated antiviral for adenovirus, which is why the patient is given symptomatic treatment. The majority of adenovirus infections are small, and most of the time, rest and over-the-counter medicines or fever medication help treat the symptoms.
However, there are certain precautions you can take to protect yourself against adenovirus:
- Maintain a respiratory hygiene
- Wear a mask to avoid infection
- Wash your hands
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
All of these precautions will help you build stronger immunity, which will keep infectious diseases at bay. So, even if you get infected, it will not be so serious, but mild. It could also be a sub-clinical one with no at all symptoms of this virus. Someone with a viral infection should at least wear a mask so that it doesn’t spread.