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Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test

Last updated June 2, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Yale Rosen

Microscopic pathology image showing Adenovirus infection.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Adenovirus Antibody Levels Blood Test
  • Adenovirus IgM Blood Test
  • Adenovirus IgG Blood Test

What is Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Adenoviruses are a group of viruses comprising around 60 species that colonize humans; though not all adenoviruses found in humans cause disease. However, the diseases caused by adenoviruses range from the common cold to life-threatening respiratory tract infections
  • Adenovirus infection is a very common infection. Adenoviruses are responsible for up to 10% of respiratory tract infections in children. The virus readily spreads through direct or indirect contact
  • Adenoviruses also infect the mucous membranes other than the airways. For example, they infect the eyes and cause viral conjunctivitis. They also infect the intestine and cause diarrhea and other intestinal symptoms
  • Adenovirus infection is usually cleared by the body’s immune system with no need for medical intervention. The symptoms may last for several days before they subside
  • Certain serotypes of adenovirus may cause severe respiratory symptoms. This is especially serious, if an individual’s immune system is weak or compromised due to immunosuppressive therapy, HIV infection, or very young or old age
  • Immediately after exposure to the adenovirus, the body’s first-responder immune cells, the macrophages, digest the virus and present its cellular components to the rest of the immune system
  • Over the course of several days, B cells multiply and create defense proteins called antibodies. Antibodies rid the body of foreign invaders such as adenovirus
  • The adenovirus antibodies that are mass-produced target specific components, or antigens, on the adenovirus. These may include proteins on its surface or other structures.
  • There are several different kinds of antibodies. IgM antibodies are released several days after exposure and indicate acute (recent) infection. IgG antibodies are released several weeks after exposure and indicate chronic (ongoing) or past infection
  • The Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test helps detect antibodies specific to adenovirus in blood. It is used to diagnose infection by adenovirus

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test:

  • Coughing
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

How is the Specimen Collected for Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test Result?

  • A positive Adenovirus Antibody Blood Test may indicate infection with adenovirus

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Adenovirus was named for its having been discovered in the tonsils and adenoid glands of infected individuals; "adeno” is Latin for gland

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are some useful resources for additional information:




Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 30, 2015
Last updated: June 2, 2019