There is no doubt the flu season this year is one of the worst in recent history, as predicted by doctors, but experts are also warning another virus could be causing flu-like symptoms. Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that are known to cause respiratory and intestinal illnesses. It may look a lot like the flu, but there is one major difference: Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease at Vanderbilt University, told CNN, "Most of the time, adenoviruses produce influenza-like illness with cough and runny nose and feeling crummy, but you get better. [In some cases,] they can also cause conjunctivitis and, particularly in children, diarrhea."
Unfortunately, according the CDC, there is currently no adenovirus vaccine available to the general public in the United States — a vaccine is only available for military use. Like the flu, the illness is spread through bodily fluids, but it can also be contracted through touching infected surfaces or coming into contact with infected fecal matter (which happens often through diaper changing). The best way to avoid adenoviruses is by frequently washing your hands, cleaning surfaces in your house, avoiding contact with sick people or public places, and not touching your face.
Though most adenovirus infections are typically mild, with symptoms lasting a week at most for healthy adults, groups like children, older folks, and those with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to severe symptoms. Moreover, there are over 50 kinds of adenovirus that can infect humans, and the symptoms you experience with each one can differ. If you unsure if if you have an adenovirus or the flu, here are seven symptoms to look out for.