Most people have experienced the common cold caused by the deadly adenovirus and passed on its symptoms to others. However, a New Jersey healthcare facility is seeing the lethal effects of this virus.
The adenovirus is generally responsible for a sore throat, common cold, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, and pinkeye. These symptoms are usually minor and pass rapidly with a healthy immune system.
Though serious infection is less common, people with a weakened immune system or existing cardiac or respiratory disease are at a great risk of developing severe infections.
How the disease became deadly
At the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, 30 persons have become sick, resulting in 10 demises. All but one case involved children. The children in these cases all had harshly compromised immune systems, containing multiple respiratory conditions, according to a report released by the New Jersey Health Department.
In another report, there have been five further cases of adenovirus confirmed at the Vorhees Pediatric Facility in New Jersey. But, testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized the strain affecting Vorhees is different and minor than the one affecting the Wanaque medical facility.
The Health Department has sent representatives to both facilities for the investigation of potential causes of the outbreaks. Adenoviruses are common viruses which anybody can get and have many common symptoms. But, those having a weakened immune system are mainly disposed to attaining the illness and facing the worst symptoms. Adenovirus symptoms usually appear between 2 and 14 days after the primary contact.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infective disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, settles that adenovirus is rather common and is typically responsible for occurrences of pinkeye.
“Still, there are also several papers that show adenovirus, once it gets into a division that takes care of immunocompromised patients, can cause more severe epidemics,” Schaffner said. “They often result in pneumonia thus causing a number of deaths.”
How the adenovirus spreads
The virus usually spread by close personal contact with others, like touching or shaking hands. Sneezing, coughing, or touching an object or surface having the virus then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes can also transfer the virus. It can also spread from touching another person’s stool.
When adenovirus symptoms are mild, many cases don’t need diagnostic testing from blood, urine, or swabs. Strict sterile performs may have been able to avert this plague in New Jersey. Schaffner says that hand cleanness, suitable recognition and judgment, patient isolation, and refraining healthcare workers ill with respiratory illnesses could have reduced the impact of this virus.
Even with hand-washing, the adenovirus can sometimes be resistant antiseptics and can remain contagious for long periods.
How you can protect yourself
According to the CDC, there is presently no vaccine available to the common community for the adenovirus.
There’s an oral vaccine against two strains of the adenovirus, but it’s kept for U.S. military staffs between the ages of 17 and 50 who may be at great risk of septicity. Adenovirus type 7 is one of the strains in the oral vaccine. It was responsible for the infections at Wanaque Center.
There’s no definite cure for the adenovirus septicity. Like other viruses, symptomatic treatment is the leading way of action. Most of its cases are mild and don’t require any medical attention. On the other hand, severe symptoms involve rapid medical treatment.
Health specialists still counsel people to wash hands properly with antimicrobial soap and water. Recurrent hand-washing is instructed, specifically for those working in child or healthcare settings. Experts also commend to stay home when you are sick. Avoid sharing cups and utensils as well as close contact with others till your signs pass.
The bottom line
Adenoviruses are common viruses which any person can get. They have various general symptoms. But, those with a weakened immune system are predominantly susceptible to attaining the disease and suffering the worst symptoms.
For persons with strong immune systems, the best mode to protect yourself is through regular hand-washing. And separate yourself from other people if you start to practice symptoms.