Adenoviruses are increasingly recognised as viral pathogens that can cause fatal infections in immunocompromised patients, particularly recipients of haematopoietic stem-cell grafts. Adenovirus infections are not easily diagnosed and the development of a severe infection cannot be predicted by standard culture techniques. In a pilot study, we investigated the value of adenovirus DNA detection in serum as a marker of disseminated disease in 14 patients with defined patterns of adenovirus infections. The results show that the appearance of adenoviral DNA in serum preceded the development of a severe or fatal adenovirus infection. Because proper management is dependent on early diagnosis and differentiation from other conditions, this test may be a valuable tool in the management of adenovirus infection.