Dramatic decline of respiratory illness among us military recruits after the renewed use of adenovirus vaccines

Jennifer M. Radin, Anthony W. Hawksworth, Patrick J. Blair, Dennis J. Faix, Rema Raman, Kevin L. Russell, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. In late 2011, after a 12-year hiatus, oral vaccines against adenovirus types 4 (Ad4) and 7 (Ad7) were again produced and administered to US military recruits. This study examined the impact of the new adenovirus vaccines on febrile respiratory illness (FRI) and adenovirus rates and investigated if new serotypes emerged. FRI rates and their associated hospitalizations had markedly risen since vaccine production ceased in 1999. Methods. From 1996 to 2013, the Naval Health Research Center conducted FRI surveillance at 8 military recruit training centers in the United States. During this period, 58 103 FRI pharyngeal swab specimens were studied, yielding 37 048 adenovirus-positive cases, among which 64% were typed. Results. During the 2 years after reintroduction of the vaccines, military trainees experienced a 100-fold decline in adenovirus disease burden (from 5.8 to 0.02 cases per 1000 person-weeks, P < .0001), without evidence that vaccine pressure had increased the impact of adenovirus types other than Ad4 and Ad7. Although the percentage of type 14 increased following reintroduction of the vaccination, the actual number of cases decreased. We estimate that the vaccines prevent approximately 1 death, 1100-2700 hospitalizations, and 13 000 febrile adenovirus cases each year among the trainees. Conclusions. These data strongly support the continued production and use of Ad4 and Ad7 vaccines in controlling FRI among US military trainees. Continued surveillance for emerging adenovirus subtypes is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-968
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenovirus
  • Febrile respiratory illness
  • Military
  • Surveillance
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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