NEW JERSEY — At least six pediatric patients are dead and 12 others are sick due to a “severe” viral outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in New Jersey. On Tuesday, the state’s Department of Health confirmed 18 cases of adenovirus.
So what are adenoviruses?
According to the CDC, adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from cold-like and sore throat symptoms, to bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation and pink eye among others.
While most illnesses are mild, it can cause serious illnesses. The New Jersey Department of Health says this particular outbreak, known as adenovirus type 7, is affecting medically fragile children with weak immune system.
Adenoviruses are typically spread by infected people through either physical contact like shaking hands or touching objects, or through the air by coughing and sneezing. The Wanaque Center is not admitting new patients until the outbreak ends.
There is a specific vaccine for adenovirus type 7, although it is only available for the U.S. military personnel and not the general public.
People should protect themselves by washing their hands frequently with soap and water. They should also avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.