Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that can infect the membranes (tissue linings) of the respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, urinary tract, and nervous system. They account for about 10% of fever-related illnesses and acute respiratory infections in kids and are a frequent cause of diarrhea.
Adenoviral infections affect babies and young children much more often than adults. Childcare centers and schools sometimes have multiple cases of respiratory infections and diarrhea caused by adenovirus.
Adenoviral infections can occur at any time of the year, but:
- respiratory tract problems caused by adenovirus are more common in late winter, spring, and early summer
- conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and pharyngoconjunctival fever caused by adenovirus tend to affect older kids, mostly in the summer
Adenoviral infections can affect children of any age, but most occur in the first years of life — and most kids have had at least one before age 10. There are many different types of adenoviruses, so some kids can have repeated adenoviral infections.