Adenovirus FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Adenovirus

What is adenovirus?

Adenoviruses are often associated with the common cold, but different strains may cause different kinds of illnesses. For detailed information, visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/index.html

What strain of adenovirus is on campus?

Of the confirmed cases of UMD students who have had Adenovirus, there are several confirmed cases of Adenovirus 7, a strain that may cause more severe illness. Please check the timeline for the most up to date case numbers. The CDC has requested that additional specimens only be sent for those with pneumonia, with severe disease or those who are hospitalized.

How many cases of adenovirus are there on campus?

As is typical this time of year, the University Health Center is seeing many patients with symptoms such as high fevers, cough, congestion, sore throats, diarrhea, and vomiting. Please check the timeline for the most up to date number of confirmed cases.

Is adenovirus infection dangerous?

Any virus infection carries potential risks.  There are many strains of Adenovirus. Adenovirus 7 is capable of causing more severe illness than other strains. To individuals who are healthy, without underlying illness or immune compromise as a result of illness or medications, Adenovirus is typically not dangerous. It can cause very high fever and pneumonia, so vigilance is important when one is feeling ill. For those with underlying illness or immune compromise, seeking medical advice or care within 48 hours of illness with fever is especially important.

Is there a test I can take to find out if I have adenovirus?

There is a test for adenovirus. The “first line” test does not isolate a particular strain. Testing may be considered in those who have a high fever and respiratory symptoms (cough) and/or vomiting and diarrhea. The University Health Center has been advised by the Department of Health to reserve testing for individuals with more severe illness (clinical or x-ray demonstrated pneumonia), or for those with consistent symptoms and who have an underlying illness (asthma, diabetes), who are immunosuppressed or who take medications that cause immunosuppression.

What can I do to keep myself safe from adenovirus?

We encourage our community to follow the precautions sent to campus regarding effective prevention techniques during flu and virus season.

What is the treatment for adenovirus?

For otherwise healthy people, the treatment for these types of illnesses includes rest, plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medicine. There is not a medication to treat non-hospitalized patients with adenovirus. Antibiotics, unfortunately, do not work against adenovirus.

However, if you have chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower your immune system or if you take medicine that lowers your immune system, it is vitally important not to ignore these symptoms and visit the University Health Center or your personal physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms. In this case, you would be monitored more closely for worsening illness and to determine, at some point, if hospitalization is needed.  

What is the university doing to stop the spread of adenovirus on campus?

Since this situation came to our attention, we have been working closely with Maryland and Prince George’s County Health Authorities.  

In addition to communications to our campus encouraging our community to take preventive measures, the Health Center, Residential Facilities, Facilities Management, Department of Transportation Services, Athletics, RecWell and The Stamp are increasing cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms. Dining Services is changing out self-service utensils every 15 minutes and have also increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces. Residential Facilities will expand the standard Winter Break residence hall cleaning program beyond their typical cleaning practices to include disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces inside student rooms.

Is there a link between the mold on campus earlier this semester and cases of adenovirus?

We understand there are questions about viruses on campus and possible links to mold found in on-campus residence halls earlier this semester. While it is true that mold can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and make individuals more susceptible to viral infections in general, the cases of adenovirus-associated illness on campus have been seen both in students living on and off campus and among students in residence halls affected by mold and not. As such, it appears that there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of adenovirus infection affecting UMD students.

At which locations have Adenovirus cases been confirmed? 

UMD students with confirmed cases of Adenovirus-associated illness live in both on campus residence halls, including Easton, Elkton, Cambridge, Prince Frederick, LaPlata, Caroline, Worcester, Cumberland, Talbot, Ellicott, Prince George's, Charles, Queen Anne, Harford, Oakland and Centerville, as well as a number of off-campus locations. Clustering of cases within residence halls has not been observed.