March 20, 2019

Viral outbreak kills 6 children at NJ facility

24 October 2018, 06:02 | Randall Craig

Adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness

Adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness

The New Jersey Department of Health said it is investigating an outbreak of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak". "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be severe".

Officials say the facility was ordered not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends. A team was sent back Tuesday.

"This is an ongoing outbreak investigation", the department said in its statement.

The outbreak is at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.

State officials were first notified of respiratory illnesses at the center on October 9, officials said. Symptoms usually include sore throats, pneumonia, diarrhea and pink eye.

Health officials confirmed the presence of adenovirus 7, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease and can occur at any time throughout the year. It was not clear when the children died, and there was no information provided on their ages.

Wanaque is a residential facility that cares for "medically fragile" newborns, children and young adults, as well as elderly individuals and those requiring rehabilitation. While they typically cause mild illnesses, people with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory or cardiac disease are at higher risk of developing a severe illness. "The Wanaque Center continues to fully cooperate with these agencies and has sought out their medical guidance with respect to the virus".

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.

Inspectors from the Department of Health have visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures.

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