Lethal Strain of Cold Virus Spreads in US

Bug has killed 10, hospitalized dozens in last 18 months
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 6:59 PM CST
Karl Miller examines a culture in a test tube for the presence of an adenovirus in a lab at Madigan Hospital at Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Washington.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – A virulent strain of adenovirus, a prevalent cause of the common cold and other respiratory infections, has been identified in parts of the US, including New York, Oregon, Washington state, and Texas, Reuters reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the new strain—adenovirus 14—has killed 10 people, including two infants, and left dozens hospitalized since May 2006.

"Whether you're a healthy young adult, an infant or an elderly person, this virus can cause severe respiratory disease at any age," a characteristic that distinguishes it from more common strains, said one CDC researcher. The findings are seen as a wakeup call for public health officials to assess the scope of the problem and determine how far the disease has spread.