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Adenoviruses Mimic Flu Symptoms

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the midst of the influenza season many could be misinterpreting their common cold or flu symptoms.


There are viruses that mimic flu-like symptoms and for some could result in hospitalization.


The Adenovirus has similar symptoms to the common cold or the flu. But unlike the flu, adenoviruses are present year-around.

Dr. April Morrison is an Infectious Disease Specialist with Lutheran Health Physicians, she says for most people the adenovirus is a non issue but it’s hard to differentiate between the two and some are more vulnerable.


“For someone that is immune compromised… then they need to get medical advice and testing to try to distinguish,” said Dr. Morrison.


There are other viruses out there that cause flu-like symptoms. Some of those viruses include: Rhinovirus, RSV, and Parainfluenza.


“They can also give people acute fever, upper-respiratory symptoms, again make healthy people feel quite poorly and make sick people potentially quite ill,” added Dr. Morrison.


Dr. Morrison said if someone seeks medical attention for flu-like symptoms they will undergo a Respiratory Virus Panel or PCR test that checks for about 12 different viruses.


The Indiana State Department doesn’t classify Adenovirus as a trackable disease. There’s no readily available vaccine for the adenoviruses.

More on the Adenovirus:

Adenoviruses symptoms include: cough, fever, sore throat, body aches and an upset stomach. Like the flu, the Adenovirus has many strains and it can cause hospitalization. But the biggest difference between the adenovirus and the influenza virus is that there’s no readily available vaccine for the adenoviruses.


Also troubling is how contagious is the virus. Like the cold and the flu it’s contracted by contact but the adenovirus is hard to kill. It can live on surfaces for up to a month and basic cleaners are ineffective.


On its website, the Center for Disease Control says that Adenoviruses rarely cause serious illness or death. However, infants and people with weakened immune systems, or existing respiratory or cardiac disease, are at higher risk of developing severe illness from an adenovirus infection.