Are adenoviruses zoonotic? A systematic review of the evidence

Laura K. Borkenhagen, Jane K. Fieldhouse, Donald Seto, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Adenoviruses (AdVs) are major contributors to clinical illnesses. Novel human and animal AdVs continue to be identified and characterized. Comparative analyses using bioinformatic methods and Omics-based technologies allow insights into how these human pathogens have emerged and their potential for host cross-species transmission. Systematic review of literature published across ProQuest, Pubmed, and Web of Science databases for evidence of adenoviral zoonotic potential identified 589 citations. After removing duplicates, 327 citations were screened for relevance; of which, 74 articles received full-text reviews. Among these, 24 were included here, of which 16 demonstrated evidence of zoonotic transmission of AdVs. These documented instances of AdV crossing host species barriers between humans and non-human primate, bat, feline, swine, canine, ovine, and caprine. Eight studies sought to but did not find evidence of zoonosis. The findings demonstrate substantial evidence suggesting AdVs have previously and will continue crossing host species barriers. These have human health consequences both in terms of novel pathogen emergence and epidemic outbreaks, and of appropriate and safe use of non-human adenoviruses for therapeutics. As routine human clinical diagnostics may miss a novel cross-species adenovirus infection in humans, next generation sequencing or panspecies molecular diagnostics may be necessary to detect such incursions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1687
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenovirus
  • anthropozoonosis
  • cross-species
  • zooanthroponosis
  • zoonotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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