Six children died and 12 others became ill after a "serious outbreak" of a life-threatening virus at a pediatric care center in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed that a total of 18 children with compromised immune systems were infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Haskell.
The outbreak was reported days after the inspectors found "minor handwashing deficiencies" in the facilities, which house elderly people and children.
Adenoviruses generally cause minor illnesses, but health officials say the outbreak is "serious" because of weakened immune systems in children.
According to a statement from the Department of Health, the Wanaque Center "was instructed not to admit new patients until the outbreak ends and they meet all the requirements."
Six children with compromised immune systems are dead and another 12 are sick after contracting adenovirus at the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Haskell, New Jersey (pictured)
Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that infect the coatings of the eyes, lungs, intestines, urinary tract and nervous system.
They are the cause of several infections, such as the common cold, respiratory tract infections, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
Adenoviruses are responsible for approximately 10 percent of fever-related infections among children in the United States. UU., And most children will have at least one type of infection at 10 years old.
Once exposed, there is an incubation period of two to 14 days before the symptoms appear.
Because they are highly contagious, adenoviruses are common among places with large groups of children, including hospitals, schools, camps and day care centers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infected person can spread adenoviruses by coughing or sneezing. Droplets fly through the air and land on surfaces.
A child can get the virus by touching an infected person or by touching the toy or an object of someone with the virus and then touching the face without washing their hands.
In some cases, adenoviruses can spread through the stool of an infected person, such as when changing a diaper.
It is also possible to get sick by eating food prepared by someone who was not suitable for their hands after using the bathroom.
Those with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing a serious or neurological disease due to an adenovirus infection.
The origin of the outbreak at the Wanaque Center is not yet clear, but officials told NorthJersey.com that the center notified them about some respiratory diseases on October 9.
Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that infect the coatings of the eyes, lungs, intestines, urinary tract and nervous system. In the photo: Colored micrograph of adenovirus colored transmission.
The outbreak was reported days after the inspectors found minor deficiencies in handwashing & # 39; in the installation. In the photo: view of the street from the center of Wanaque
Nicole Kirgan, a spokeswoman for the health department, told Daily Mail Online in a statement that the outbreak was caused by a type 7 adenovirus.
According to the CDC, type 7 is most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease.
The US Food and Drug Administration UU Approved a vaccine for types 4 and 7, but only for US military personnel. UU At risk of infection.
Kirgan added: "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more serious outbreak."
The Department of Health inspectors visited the facilities on Sunday and found "minor deficiencies in hand washing."
The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, published a statement that said: "I am heartbroken at the news that several children lost their lives in an adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and I pray for Complete recovery of the other affected children.
"I have been informed by Dr. Elnahal, who has assured me that the Department of Health has recommended vital measures to improve protection against the spread of the infection and will continue with its active surveillance in place.
"I am confident that the measures taken by state and local officials will minimize the impact for all those who remain in the facilities, including patients and employees."
The Wanaque Center says on its website that it is a for-profit facility that works with "medically fragile children" from newborns to 22 years old.
It also offers a nursing home and a rehabilitation center for adults in the short or long term.
In 2016, 23 children were infected with adenovirus after undergoing eye exams at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which resulted in the death of a baby.
The staff attributed the outbreak to medical personnel who do not wear gloves and do not clean the equipment properly.
Philly.com reported in August that the parents of the baby who died, Melanie Sanders, are suing the hospital for negligence.