Adenovirus in Children
The most common cause of VIRAL Pink Eye in children!
– Adenovirus is a large DNA virus that passes easily through saliva, tears, respiratory droplets, stool and
– It is killed by bleach, but not alcohol, and hand washing for at least 20 seconds while scrubbing well.
– It can pass through swimming pools when the chlorine levels drop (hot days, poor pool monitoring).
Classic Presentation: Pharyngoconjunctival fever: 3-5 days of fever along with sore throat and pink eye
followed by a week of congestion and cough.
Other presentations: abdominal pain with bloody urine, diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.
Physical exam by the doctor often reveals enlarge tonsils with or without exudates (white spots), red eyes
without much drainage, sometimes infected ears or lungs and often times some abdominal pain.
Usually diagnosis can be made by clinical exam alone, but when in doubt the doctor may run a flu test or
CovVID-19 test since the symptoms can be similar.
PCR is also available to test for adenovirus.
Children are most contagious during the days of fever, but they can shed the virus for weeks after infection
through stool. They should not return to school until afebrile for at least 48 hours and no visible pink eye.
For healthy children, supportive care is the only treatment- fever reducers for temps of 101 or more, fluids and
rest. For immunocompromised children, antiviral therapy is sometimes used in the hospital setting.
It’s important to rest with this illness as myocarditis can be a complication with adenovirus and intensive
exercise while febrile.
When to contact your doctor:
1. High fever. For a baby < 3 months of age, 100.4 and for other ages, 102F
2. Prolonged fever. Any age fever of 101 or more for 3 days or more.
3. Extreme fatigue, strong cough or trouble breathing.
4. Refusal to drink or taking so little that your child is not making wet diapers at least every 4-6 hours.