CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center are warning the public about a sickness called adenovirus.

Right now, college campuses in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia have reported adenovirus outbreaks.

The more severe cases are requiring hospitalization.

UVA sent out a letter on Tuesday, June 4, alerting the public about the contagious virus.

The letter states there’s one confirmed case within the university community and warns people to take precautions like washing hands and avoiding people who are sick in order to stay healthy.

Common symptoms include those similar to the common cold like sore throat, sinus congestion, runny eyes, or a cough.

“Things that would be of concern would be things like a high fever,” Dr. Costi Sifri, an epidemiologist with UVA Health System, said. “If you're having problems breathing, if you're getting lightheaded, having nausea, vomiting, feeling dehydrated, or having chest pain, those types of symptoms of significant infections it's important to reach out to your doctor."

Some people may also get pink eye or an ear infection as a result of adenovirus.

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you're encouraged to stay home and contact your doctor.

Statement from UVA Medical Center and UVA Health System:

To the University Community:

In recent weeks, as you may be aware, there has been extensive media coverage about adenovirus. Today, I write to inform you of one confirmed severe case of adenovirus within the University community. Out of an abundance of caution, we want to share the following information about adenovirus and steps you can take to help safeguard your personal health.

Adenoviruses are common causes of human illness and typically cause infection of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include those typical of the common cold, such as sore throat, nasal symptoms, and cough. Some people will also experience conjunctivitis (pink eye) or ear infection. Adenoviruses can also infect the lower respiratory tract, causing bronchitis and/or pneumonia. Less commonly, adenoviruses cause gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infection, or neurologic disease.

Most people with adenovirus have a mild, self-limited illness. As with other viral upper respiratory tract infections, testing is not typically performed because it does not alter treatment recommendations. Symptoms are often managed using medications available over the counter.

People with compromised immune systems are at risk for more severe illness. With severe illness, testing is often performed to diagnose the infection and distinguish it from other pathogens that can cause similar symptoms, such as influenza. Patients with severe illness may require medical imaging and hospitalization.

You should follow these steps to avoid adenovirus infection:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating or touching your face.
  • Avoid others who are sick.

If you are concerned about symptoms of adenovirus, you should contact your local physician. If you are a student currently in Charlottesville, you may contact Student Health and Wellness for advice or to schedule an appointment (434-982-3915 during business hours, 434-924-5362 after hours).

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please seek medical attention promptly:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unable to maintain hydration due to vomiting or dehydration

If your symptoms are mild and you choose to manage them at home, please follow these steps to prevent spread of infection to others:

  • Stay home. Contact your professors or supervisor to let them know about your absence. You do not need a medical excuse note to miss class
  • Cover your cough, using your elbow or sleeve
  • Do not share saliva (kissing, water bottles, utensils, etc.)

The CDC website contains more detailed information about adenovirus.


Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, MPH

Acting Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, UVA Health System

Chief Executive Officer, UVA Medical Center