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Human adenoviruses cause a variety of diseases including pneumonia, cystitis, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, hepatitis, myocarditis, and encephalitis. In humans, adenoviruses have been recovered from almost every organ system. Infections can occur at any time of the year and in all age groups. Currently, there are 51 adenovirus serotypes that have been grouped into 6 separate subgenera.
Culture is the gold standard for the diagnosis for adenovirus infection. However, it can take up to 3 weeks to achieve culture results (Mayo Clinic's shell vial culture provides more rapid results, reported at 2 and 5 days). Serological tests have faster turnaround times, but can be less sensitive compared to culture. PCR offers a rapid, specific, and sensitive means of diagnosis by detecting adenovirus DNA.
Aiding in the diagnosis of adenovirus infections
A positive result indicates the presence of adenoviruses.
A negative result does not rule out the presence of adenoviruses because organisms may be present at levels below the detection limits of this assay.
Test results should be used as an aid in diagnosis and should not be considered diagnostic in themselves.
Although the reference range is generally considered to be "Negative" for this assay, adenovirus DNA may be detected from asymptomatic individuals in certain settings. This assay should only be used to test patients with clinical history and symptoms consistent with adenovirus disease, and is not used to screen healthy patients.
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