Dangerous new form of Adenovirus spreading fast

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) - We're covering East Tennessee health with the growing threat of Adenovirus.

Adenovirus can cause many illnesses, including colds, pinkeye, bronchitis, stomach flu and respiratory infections.

But one particular strain, Adenovirus 14, can cause pneumonia, and it's striking an increasing number of young, healthy adults.

It's hospitalized dozens of people and killed at least 10, and Adenovirus 14 appears to be spreading, and c-d-c investigators are unsure why.

Adenovirus 14 was first identified in Holland in 1955.

It is caused sporadic outbreaks in Europe and Asia, but there's never been a documented case in the western hemisphere.

Until now, at least 1,035 americans in four states have been infected so far this year, according to CDC.

A cause for alarm for Infectious Disease Specialists like Lee George who says, "The most important thing, I think, to consider is, this virus seems to be more virulent and we don't know why."

Adenovirus used to cause nothing more than a bad cold.

Now within a day or two of developing a cough or fever, some patients become so sick they are being admitted to the emergency department in need of oxygen.

This strain has the capability of causing severe respiratory illnesses in people of all ages, regardless of their general health.

George says, "But now, what we're seeing are clusters of outbreaks primarily in crowded conditions, like the military installations, but they do appear sporadic, in small clusters or maybe individual cases."

CDC investigators have confirmed outbreaks in four states: Texas, Oregon, Washington, South Carolina.

They are trying to determine whether any antiviral drugs are effective against the virus, and whether vaccines offer any defense.

In the meantime, Infectious Disease Specialist Lee George say don't be alarmed, but be aware, "If you are ill and you have a high temperature and you don't seem to be getting any better, it's really a good idea to go see your doctor."

The virus spreads like flu or colds, and can be prevented much the same way, through good hygiene, primarily proper hand washing.

The largest outbreak, at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, now appears to be tapering off.

CDC investigators confirm 579 recruits have been infected, including 24 who had to be hospitalized.

One recruit died.

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