Beware of the Summer Viruses

Karissa Culbreath Ph.D., D(ABMM), Section Chief, Infectious Disease; AND Gabriela Uribe, Ph.D. D(ABMM), Medical Director Molecular Infectious Disease
June 28, 2024

As we approach the summer months, there are some viruses that you may want to keep in mind. We now have molecular tests for targeted, sensitive, and specific detection of viral agents.

Adenoviruses are common viruses that often arise in the summer that can cause many types of infections, including cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis.

Immunocompromised and people with heart conditions are more likely than others to become very sick from an adenovirus infection. At TriCore, we have a number of different tests that can be used to assay specimens for patients whose illness is thought to be caused by adenovirus.

Adenovirus is a target in the following tests:


Enterovirus infections can be associated with more severe diseases, such as viral meningitis or encephalitis, myocarditis, pericarditis, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), and inflammatory muscle disease. These complications are more likely to occur in infants or in people with weakened immune systems and tend to be transmitted more frequently in the summer and fall.

Coxsackievirus A16, EV-A71, and EV-D68 are all known causes of AFM and can be detected using ENVPCR (stool) and EVPCR (CSF).

West Nile Virus (WNV) is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. In New Mexico, we generally see cases begin in mid-late summer and decline by the fall. While most infections are asymptomatic, about 20% of people develop a fever and one in 150 people develop neuroinvasive disease that may be fatal. In 2023, there were 80 cases of WNV in New Mexico: 28 with uncomplicated fever and 44 demonstrating neuroinvasive disease. Of these 80 cases, eight were fatal. Symptoms of severe disease include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, flaccid paralysis, and coma. While severe illness can occur at any age, individuals over 60 are at greater risk of complications.

Diagnosis of WNV is generally performed by: