What Is The Adenovirus?
What is the Adenovirus and should I be concerned may be your first question. There are many facets to consider when talking about various viruses including contagiousness, seriousness of infection, and how to protect yourself, among others. This website will help to educate you on the Adenovirus as well as other viruses such as the common cold, flu, and H1N1.
But first, let's go over what a virus is and how it affects your body.
What Is A Virus?
A virus (derives from the latin word for toxin, or poison) is a microscopic infectious agent that can only replicate itself within the living cells of organisms. There are literally millions of different viruses and they can infect animals, humans, plants, and bacteria. Viruses are found everywhere on earth and are considered to be the most abundant form of life on our planet.
How Do Viruses Spread?
Viruses can spread in many different ways. Plants transmit viruses to one another through small insects. The influenza virus (the flu) for example, is spread by the microscopic particles that a person emits when coughing or sneezing. These tiny particles that are ejected into the air can be inhaled by humans and this is one of the most common ways that the flu spreads.
How Do Our Bodies Protect Us From Viruses?
The human body is a marvel of science. Our bodies have natural defenses against foreign invaders such as viruses, that will provoke an immediate immune response when detected. Our natural immune response can be boosted by certain vaccines which will help us to fight off viruses that otherwise would take over our immune system.
So What Is The Adenovirus?
The Adenovirus or Adenoviridae to put the name into scientific terms, are medium sized icosahedral viruses with 53 different serotypes. A serotype is simply a classification for a series of microorganisms. It can help to think of serotypes as the "family" of the virus. These serotypes are responsible for between 5-10% of upper respiratory infections in children as well as various other infections in adults. All vertebrates are susceptible to Adenoviruses and were first discovered in human adenoids, where they derive their name from.
The Adenovirus in humans can cause upper respiratory disease, conjunctivitis, and gastroenteritis. The Adenovirus' variants are very common in children and can often cause diarrhea. The virus is much more common in children and infants than adults and can often spread quickly through daycare centers and schools.
Interestingly, the majority of us will have experienced at least one adenoviral infection by age 10. Because of the many types of adenoviral infections, a child may be repeatedly infected with different variants of the virus. We have prepared a helpful article for parents who have a child whom they think has the adenovirus that can be found here.