By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – Six children died Tuesday and 12 are being treated for an outbreak of an adenovirus in a health center in the state of New Jersey, officials said.
The state’s health department issued a statement confirming 18 cases of the virus were detected among children at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
"A Department team is at the facility today and an inspection team was also there Sunday. The team on Sunday found minor handwashing deficiencies and the Health Department is continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues," the agency said.
The facility is not accepting new patients until the outbreak ends and there are no more signs of the virus.
Adenoviruses are a group of virus strands that can cause a wide range of illnesses from cold-like symptoms to bronchitis or conjunctivitis, otherwise known as pink eye.
The viruses can be spread by close contact with others, coughing and sneezing, or lack of hand sanitation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
This particular strain, however, affects children with weak immune systems, according to the N.J. Department of Health.
"The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe," it said.