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Adenovirus is a virus that can cause chest colds, cough, pink eye, ear infections, and pneumonia in children. It can also cause diarrhea. An adenovirus usually causes a mild infection in a healthy person.
An adenovirus can be spread by:
Most adenovirus infections only affect 1 part of the body. But a person with a weak immune system can have an infection that spreads to more than 1 part of the body. This can be fatal.
Read more about common infections in children with weak immune systems.
Patients who have had bone marrow transplants have a higher risk of serious illness from adenovirus infections.
Children can get a new adenovirus infection during the transplant process. Or the virus may already be in the body. A child’s immune system is weaker during transplant. So, the immune system may not be able to prevent the virus from reproducing. Then the virus can cause serious problems. Before transplant, your child will have tests to check for adenovirus.
Some children do not have any symptoms. But some may have any of the following:
|Respiratory symptoms||Digestive symptoms||Urinary symptoms||Eye symptoms|
Shortness of breath
|Pain with urination
Blood in urine
Eye redness or itching
Children with healthy immune systems are less likely to have serious illness from adenovirus infections. During a bone marrow transplant, your child gets medicines that weaken the immune system. This is called immunosuppressive therapy. It involves high doses of chemotherapy and other medicines.
Immunosuppressive therapy keeps the body from rejecting a transplant. During transplant, the body cannot fight viruses well. Adenovirus is more likely to cause sickness.
Adenovirus can become active after a bone marrow transplant. This may cause health problems. Adenovirus can affect the lungs, digestive system, liver, and brain.
Your child has lab tests at many points during the transplant process. They have a blood and stool (poop) test before the transplant to check for adenovirus.
After their bone marrow transplant, blood lab tests are done to monitor adenovirus. Your care team tests your child at least once a week for 100 days or longer after transplant. This test looks for the amount of virus in the blood.
If your child develops symptoms of illness, your care team may test for adenovirus. Depending on what symptoms your child has, doctors may take samples of stool (poop), nasal swab, or blood.
Your child’s treatment depends on their infection and their individual needs. Your care team may reduce the doses of medicines that lower the immune response. This allows your child’s body to fight off the infection naturally.
Your provider may also prescribe a medicine to fight the virus. The only medicine that treats adenovirus is an antiviral medicine called cidofovir.
Antivirals can cause other health concerns like kidney problems. Your child will get medicine to protect their kidneys. The care team will also make sure your child gets enough liquids to prevent kidney problems. Your child may get fluids through an IV. The care team will watch for other infections that can happen.
Successful treatment of adenovirus depends on many factors. Your child’s care team tests for adenovirus before, during, and after the transplant. This helps them catch the infection and treat it as soon as possible.
Adenovirus symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. The symptoms can also last for a few days or for several weeks.
Adenovirus infection that spreads to more than 1 part of the body is often harder to treat. Your care team works to treat the infection and to prevent transplant rejection or complications.
Your child’s care team will tell you the treatment plan. They tell you how your child will receive treatment. Ask your care team how best to care for your child. They can answer any questions you have about your child’s treatment or how to find support.
Reviewed: November 2023