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What Makes The Flu-Like Adenovirus So Dangerous?

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What Makes The Flu-Like Adenovirus So Dangerous?
Adenovirus has killed seven children at a New Jersey long-term care facility. Here's what we know about the virus and what makes it dangerous.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

A recent outbreak of an infectious, flu-like disease called adenovirus has killed seven children at a New Jersey long-term care facility. The virus is fairly common, and usually isn't fatal — but the facility held the ideal conditions for the infection to spread.

According to the CDC, there are dozens of types of adenovirus that can cause symptoms like respiratory illness, pink eye, or the stomach flu. It can be deadly in patients with pneumonia or weakened immune systems. Adenovirus spreads through the air, or through touching a person or object an infected person has touched. 

It’s also most commonly spread in group or communal settings, like in college dorms or the New Jersey care facility. The New Jersey Department of Health says there have been 23 confirmed cases at that facility and described the kids who contracted the illness as "medically fragile." 

New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy says the state's health department "will continue its active on-site surveillance and has recommended measures to protect against the further spread of infection.” The outbreak will officially end when there have been four weeks with no new cases. 

There's no adenovirus vaccine available to the general public. So far, the FDA has only approved a vaccine for U.S. military personnel. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate Newsy affiliate CNN.