Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Paediatrics and Child Health


Background: The application of molecular diagnostics has identified enteric group adenovirus serotypes 40 and 41 as important causes of diarrhea in children. However, many aspects of the epidemiology of adenovirus 40/41 diarrhea have not been described.
Methods: We used data from the 8-site Etiology, Risk Factors, and Interactions of Enteric Infections and Malnutrition and the Consequences for Child Health and Development Project birth cohort study to describe site- and age-specific incidence, risk factors, clinical characteristics, and seasonality.
Results: The incidence of adenovirus 40/41 diarrhea was substantially higher by quantitative polymerase chain reaction than enzyme immunoassay and peaked at ∼30 episodes per 100 child-years in children aged 7-15 months, with substantial variation in incidence between sites. A significant burden was also seen in children 0-6 months of age, higher than other viral etiologies with the exception of rotavirus. Children with adenovirus 40/41 diarrhea were more likely to have a fever than children with norovirus, sapovirus, and astrovirus (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.62; 95% CI, 1.16-2.26) but less likely than children with rotavirus (aOR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.49-0.91). Exclusive breastfeeding was strongly protective against adenovirus 40/41 diarrhea (hazard ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.48-0.85), but no other risk factors were identified. The seasonality of adenovirus 40/41 diarrhea varied substantially between sites and did not have clear associations with seasonal variations in temperature or rainfall.
Conclusions: This study supports the situation of adenovirus 40/41 as a pathogen of substantial importance, especially in infants. Fever was a distinguishing characteristic in comparison to other nonrotavirus viral etiologies, and promotion of exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the high observed burden in the first 6 months of life.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Open forum infectious diseases

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.