Adenovirus infections could be linked with appendicitis, according to a Medscape Medical News report from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) 2014 meeting. The research, carried out by the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, also showed higher levels of detection of the virus using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) compared with immunohistochemistry.


Looking at patients who had undergone an appendectomy, the researchers found that 14% of patients had evidence of adenovirus, compared with 0.23% in the literature. Adenovirus has previously been linked with rare cases of appendicitis in children.

Since 2010, the military has been vaccinating against adenovirus infection, and poster presenter David Lynch had spotted that the vaccinated trainees had lower rates of appendicitis compared with the unvaccinated individuals. Of the 114 samples tested, 16 were positive for adenovirus when tested by PCR, compared with one for immunohistochemistry.

“We figured that we were going to find more,” Dr. Lynch said to Medscape Medical News. “We just didn’t know how much.”

The next step could be to see if there is a connection between rates of vaccination for adenovirus and levels of appendicitis.