Adenoviruses cause a variety of sporadic and epidemic dis-eases in humans including acute respiratory disease, pharyn-goconjunctival fever, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, acute hemorrhagic cystitis, and more recently adenoviral infections in immunocompromised hosts. Of most recent interest is the role of adenoviruses as vectors in gene therapy. The virus is being used to deliver DNA for gene replacement therapy in few genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.
Adenoviruses belong to the family Adenoviridae, which consist of a group of medium-sized, nonenveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses that multiply in the nucleus of the infected cell. The family consists of two distinct genera: Mastadenovirus and Aviadenovirus consisting of mammalian and avian adenovi-ruses, respectively. The genus Mastadenovirus comprises at least 49 serotypes, which infect humans. All these human serotypes have been divided into six groups (A–F) on the basis of their DNA homology and other physical, chemical, and biologic properties (Table 58-1).