A health department spokesman said: "The strain of adenovirus seen in this outbreak is associated with communal living arrangements and known to cause severe illness". Some strains also cause diarrhea and conjunctivitis.
The Wanaque Center, about 32 miles (50 km) northwest of NY, serves newborns to 22-year-olds who are "medically fragile".
Those with weakened immune systems, though, have a higher risk for severe disease and may remain infectious long after they recover, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Each of those who became ill had "severely compromised immune systems" before they got sick, and ranged in age from toddlers to young adults.
Health officials found minor hand-washing deficiencies at the facility during visits last week, and have been working with the center on infection-control issues, the health department said. And for most patients, only home remedies and over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms are needed. That said, investigations on the outbreak are ongoing, and so are the measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.
The bacterium can cause pneumonia or serious blood or wound infections. Type 7 is most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease, according to the CDC. These six types accounted for 85.5% of 1,497 laboratory-confirmed specimens reported during the time period. He said this is changing, and for that reason, he believes the number of cases will rise.
"People know patients are being held prisoner, but they probably think they have bigger battles in public health to fight, so they just have to let this go", Sophie Harman, a global health expert at Queen Mary University of London, said.
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