On Tuesday, the University of Virginia Health System sent an alert about a confirmed severe case of adenovirus “within the university community.”
Pamela Sutton-Wallace, the CEO of the health system, said she notified readers in an abundance of caution.
Virginia does not require hospitals and doctors to report confirmed or suspected cases of adenovirus, according to a representative from the Thomas Jefferson Health District. But the University of Virginia Medical Center has documented 81 cases of adenovirus from patients across Central Virginia in the past three years, according to a spokesman on Wednesday.
In the last 10 years, instances of severe illness and death from adenovirus type 7 infection have been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A University of Maryland student died in November amid an outbreak of adenovirus that sickened dozens of students in Baltimore.
An epidemiologist at the state Department of Health said he was not aware of any current clusters or outbreaks of the disease in Virginia.
Adenoviruses are common and typically result in a mild, short illness, and symptoms — typically sore throat, cough and nasal symptoms — can be monitored and treated with over-the-counter medication.
Some people also experience pink eye and ear infections and, if the virus infects the lower respiratory tract, bronchitis and pneumonia.
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.
To avoid infection, wash hands frequently with soap and water and avoid others who are sick.