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Robert Ernst, chief health officer at the University of Michigan, sent out an email Wednesday to the University community warning of high levels of adenovirus on campus.

The adenovirus is a common cause of the common cold. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough or gastrointestinal symptoms. They typically last from a few days up to several weeks. The virus spreads through contact with droplets that come from an infected person’s nose or throat or from contaminated surfaces. Ernst’s message comes one week before Thanksgiving break, and he wrote that students should remain vigilant prior to returning to their permanent residences. 

“This notice of an observed increase in adenovirus activity follows messaging last week about community transmission of all types of respiratory illnesses, and includes reminders about how to remain vigilant and protect yourself, your friends and your family, in advance of the upcoming Thanksgiving break,” Ernst wrote in the email.

The notice followed another message, which was sent out to the campus community on Nov. 8 and addressed ways to avoid disruptions to end-of-semester plans as many respiratory viruses spread around the country.

Adenovirus rates on campus are monitored by the U-M Public Health Response team. The team’s surveillance systems currently suggest high levels of transmission of mild cases of adenovirus. Severe illness is rare, typically only occurring in high-risk patient populations.

There is no vaccine available for adenovirus. Ernst wrote in the Nov. 16 email that prevention is the best defense against the virus and that students should stay home when sick, watch for new or worsening symptoms and seek medical advice if needed. 

Ernst recommended students get a flu vaccine and the updated COVID-19 booster.

Daily News Reporter Rachel Mintz can be reached at mintzrac@umich.edu.