January 20, 2019

Six children dead, 12 sick in viral outbreak at New Jersey facility

24 October 2018, 02:58 | Rodolfo Wallace

Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Rehabilitation Center Leaves 6 Children Dead

Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Rehabilitation Center Leaves 6 Children Dead

Six children died while 12 others fell ill from the virus.

The kids are pediatric residents with "severely compromised immune systems" at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, the state Department of Health said in a statement.

Adenoviruses typically cause mild illness in young children.

Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses such as common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, bladder inflammation or infection, stomach and intestine inflammation, and neurologic disease, according to the CDC. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak".

Adenoviruses are responsible for about 10 percent of fever-related infections among U.S. children, and most children will have at least one type of infection by age 10.

The health facility has been told not to admit any new patients until the outbreak has ended.

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State officials were first notified of respiratory illnesses at the center on October 9, officials said.

The facility's pediatrics center serves newborns to 22-year-olds who are "medically fragile" and provides an individualized program for each child, the center's website said. Messages left with the center were not returned.

State health officials continue to investigate the outbreak, but initial investigations turned up "minor handwashing deficiencies" at Wanaque.

After experiencing cases of adenovirus in its pediatric unit, the center notified government health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is fully cooperating with them and has sought out their guidance, the Wanaque center said in a statement emailed by Rowena Bautista, administrator of the center.

A scientific paper cited by the CDC reported that a 1998 outbreak of type 7 adenovirus at a pediatric chronic-care facility in Chicago claimed the lives of eight patients.

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