Routes of Transmission and Prevention

Summary Points

  • Adenoviruses have respiratory, fecal-oral transmission, and waterborne transmission. Sexual transmission is also possible
  • Good sanitation practices and proper chlorination of swimming pools are important in preventing infection
  • An oral vaccine has been created but it for military use only

Transmission and Prevention of Infection

Adenoviruses are believed to be transmitted by respiratory and fecal-oral routes. Studies have also shown that adenovirus is present in semen, thus suggesting possibly sexual transmission. Outbreaks of infection amongst people in a common swimming pool imply that waterborne transmission is also a means of acquiring the virus.

In order to prevent transmission of the virus, general sanitation practices are recommended. These practices include frequent hand washing, proper sterilization of ophthalmology tools, and proper maintenance of chlorine levels in swimming pools.

Respiratory spread - cover your mouth when you sneeze. Image courtesy of

(Un)available Vaccine

An oral vaccine has been made to prevent infection of adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7. While this vaccine is efficacious, it is believed that it could possibly have oncogenic potential and therefore is not approved for civilian use. The sole company that produced the vaccine, however, has stopped production since 1996. Since that time, there have been several outbreaks of infection on military bases.

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