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What are Human Adenoviruses?

Adenoviruses are non-enveloped viruses of the Adenoviridae family. They are highly contagious and spread worldwide. Because of the viruses’ environmental resistance at room temperature, infectivity continues for weeks. Adenoviruses are only transmitted to humans and can cause a variety of illnesses, including eye and respiratory infections and gastroduodenal disorders.

How are Human Adenoviruses transmitted?

Adenoviruses are a notifiable virus in many countries, including Germany, provided they come from the conjunctival smear of the eye to determine the number of highly infectious eye infections. The virus is transmitted from person to person through direct physical contact and droplet infection, for example through the transmission of eye secretions. However, it can also be transferred through indirect contact, for example through contaminated hands, contaminated instruments in doctors’ practices and hospitals or towels in common washrooms. Follicular conjunctivitis and pharyngoconjunctival fever can also be transmitted by contaminated swimming pool water.

What are symptoms of the disease?

After an incubation period of 5 to 12 days, symptoms such as eye diseases, respiratory diseases or gastrointestinal problems with nausea and diarrhoea occur. Other signs of adenovirus infection may include urinary tract infections, hepatitis and meningoencephalitis. Eye infections, corneal inflammations or conjunctivitis, are most commonly transmitted. Affected persons have the sensation of foreign matter in their eyes. In these cases, the eyes itch, water and become sensitive to light. After 2 to 4 weeks, the eye inflammation usually resolves itself and usually heals without consequences. A patient is considered contagious until the virus is no longer detectable in excretions. This takes an average of 2 weeks after the first symptoms appear.

Significance for infections in hospitals and in the outpatient sector

The importance of adenoviruses as triggers of hospital outbreaks is secondary. However, as the cause of adenoconjunctivitis, they are in midfield in the statistics on notifiable diseases.

Survival time of pathogens on inanimate surfaces

7 days to 3 months

Disinfectant effectiveness for prevention

The required spectrum of activity against adenoviruses is: limited virucidal PLUS

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