Six Decades of Human Adenovirus Type 4 Infections Reviewed: Increasing Infections Among Civilians Are a Matter of Concern

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Aug 16;73(4):740-746. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab146.


Human adenovirus type 4 (HAdV-E4) frequently causes epidemics among military and civilian populations. We conducted a systematic review of 144 peer-reviewed articles reporting HAdV-E4 infections, published during the years 1960-2020. More than 24 500 HAdV-E4 infections, including 27 associated deaths, were documented. HAdV-E4 infections were reported from all geographic regions of the world except Central America and the Caribbean. The number of publications reporting civilian infections tripled in the last decade, with a steady increase in reported civilian infections over time. Infections commonly caused respiratory and ocular disease. North America reported the most infections, followed by Asia and Europe. The majority of deaths were reported in the United States, followed by China and Singapore. Civilians seem to increasingly suffer HAdV-E4 disease, with recent epidemics among US college students. Public health officials should consider seeking emergency use authorization for the adenovirus vaccine such that it might be available to mitigate civilian epidemics.

Keywords: HAdV-E4; adenovirus; adenovirus type 4; emerging infectious diseases; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenovirus Infections, Human* / epidemiology
  • Adenoviruses, Human*
  • China
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections*
  • United States / epidemiology