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J Med Case Rep. 2011 Jun 30;5:259. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-5-259.

Severe community-acquired adenovirus pneumonia in an immunocompetent 44-year-old woman: a case report and review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Level 6 Windsor Building, Leicester, LE1 5WW, UK.



This case report describes a rare condition: community-acquired adenovirus pneumonia in an immunocompetent adult. The diagnosis was achieved by using a multiplex real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay and highlights the usefulness of these novel molecular diagnostic techniques in patients hospitalized with acute respiratory illness. We also performed a literature search for previously published cases and present a summary of the clinical, laboratory and radiological features of this condition.


A 44-year-old immunocompetent Caucasian woman was admitted to our hospital with an acute febrile respiratory illness associated with a rash. Her blood tests were non-specifically abnormal, and tests for bacterial pathogens were negative. Her condition rapidly deteriorated while she was in our hospital and required mechanical ventilation and inotropic support. A multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay performed on respiratory specimens to detect respiratory viruses was negative for influenza but positive for adenovirus DNA. The patient recovered on supportive treatment, and antibiotics were stopped after 5 days.


Community-acquired adenovirus pneumonia in immunocompetent adult civilians presents as a non-specific acute febrile respiratory illness followed by the abrupt onset of respiratory failure, often requiring mechanical ventilation. Its laboratory and radiological features are typical of viral infections but also are non-specific. Novel multiplex real-time RT-PCR testing for respiratory viruses enabled us to rapidly make the diagnosis in this case. The new technology could be used more widely in patients with acute respiratory illness and has potential utility for rationalization of the use of antibiotics and improving infection control measures.

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