A virus called adinovirus mimics the flu, causing it to be misdiagnosed and under-reported. Experts warn it may be just as dangerous to older people as the flu.

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that cause symptoms similar to classic influenza. People who contract it can experience fever, headaches, body aches, and respiratory difficulty. Unlike the flu, the adenovirus isn’t seasonal, so it’s a threat to be aware of all year round.

Respiratory infections are passed easily from person to person in closed environments like skilled nursing facilities, and adenoviruses are no exception. The CDC says for people with healthy immune systems, these viruses pose no threat. But in long-term care facilities, many residents are immunocompromised.

Symptoms of adenoviruses

These bugs often infect the airways and intestines. Symptoms will vary depending on the specific virus. The most common symptoms are the same as the common cold: sore throat, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, coughing, headaches, and fever. It can also cause bronchitis. Diarrhea and bladder infections may also occur.

Complications of adenoviruses

Elderly patients with weak immune systems can develop complications from the infection. Serious complications include pneumonia and meningitis.

Prevention of adenoviruses

Prevention for these viruses is much like prevention for other airborne viruses. The main way to protect yourself is to wash your hands properly and often. This involves using soap and rubbing your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.

Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough to reduce airborne droplets. Wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Avoid touching your face, because infections can be spread by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands.

The virus survives for a long time on objects, so use caution if someone close to you has it.


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