• Acute respiratory disease;
  • children;
  • China;
  • human adenovirus


Human adenovirus 55 (HAdV-55) has caused recent outbreaks of acute respiratory disease (ARD) among adults and military trainees. The active surveillance for HAdV infections was sparse in China, and current knowledge on the HAdV-type distributions and its molecular evolution is lacking.


To acquire better understanding on the prevalence and molecular evolution of HAdV-55 strains in China, for an informed strategy for disease control and prevention.


Nasopharyngeal aspirates were collected from hospitalized children with ARTI in Chongqing during 2009–2012. The genotype of HAdV isolates were determined by sequencing the partial hexon and fiber genes. Whole genome sequences of HAdV-55 were obtained for molecular evolution analysis.


About 191 (8·55%) HAdV were detected in 2234 children, including 92 (48·2%) with HAdV-7, 72 (37·7%) with HAdV-3, 6 (3·1%) with HAdV-55, 5 (2·6%) with HAdV-5, 4 (2·1%) with HAdV-1, 1 (0·5%) with HAdV-2, and 11(5·8%) with untyped HAdV. Four of these children developed pneumonia, two of whom were diagnosed with severe pneumonia and/or encephalopathy. HAdV-55 isolates clustered with HAdV-11 sequences based on the hexon gene and clustered with HAdV-14 sequences based on the fiber gene and the whole genome. The overall evolutionary rates of hexon gene, fiber gene, and whole genome of HAdV-55 were estimated at 6·2 × 10−5 s/s/y, 8·0 × 10−5 s/s/y, and 1·7 × 10−5 s/s/y, respectively.


This study suggested HAdV-55 as an emerging infectious disease pathogen has conserved genetic structure and is closely related to each other. Further molecular investigation based on HAdV-55 of wider origin might facilitate understanding its diversity, dissemination, and transmission in China.