Background Respiratory viral infections remain an underrecognized cause of morbidity and mortality among preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Case Report An eight day old, 650 gram birth weight, 23 weeks' gestational age female developed "culture-negative" sepsis manifested by respiratory deterioration, hypoxia, leukocytosis, and thrombocytopenia. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and hepatitis due to adenovirus HAdV-D (H29F9) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, but died at the age of 18 days despite treatment with cidofovir and immune globulin intravenous. Conclusion As the ability to diagnosis respiratory viral infections in the NICU has improved greatly with the use of PCR testing, the impact and contribution of these viruses to neonatal disease is now being recognized and the notion of "culture-negative" sepsis needs reassessment. The diagnosis of these infections in high risk infants is important not only for etiologic and epidemiologic reasons but ultimately for informing antimicrobial stewardship efforts.
Keywords: adenovirus; neonatal intensive care unit; preterm infant; respiratory virus.