Ninth Child Dies in Virus Outbreak at NJ Center

Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

The child, already fragile and suffering respiratory illness, was not confirmed to have a common infection, health officials said.

During a site visit last week, inspectors identified "hand-washing deficiencies", and state health officials have barred the center from admitting new patients until the outbreak is past. The infections can affect the tissue linings of the respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, urinary tract and nervous system, causing illnesses ranging from a cold to bronchitis to pneumonia to pink eye.

In some versions of a story October 25 about a viral outbreak, The Associated Press misspelled the name of the New Jersey health commissioner.

Adenovirus causes severe flu-like symptoms but can be even more risky than the typical flu virus.

The US health department said the most recent individual to be diagnosed in the outbreak would have fallen ill on or before 22 October.

Seven other children have died and 16 others who have survived all contracted adenovirus while being treated at the Wanaque Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center in Haskell, according to the Department of Health. Adenovirus 7, in the outbreak is linked with communal living arrangements.

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Health commissioner Dr Shereef Elnahal said the first symptoms showed at the centre on 26 September, and the state was notified of an outbreak 9 October. Most were children, though at least one was a young adult; state officials have revealed minimal details to protect patient privacy.

A staff member who had fallen ill has since recovered from this strain of adenovirus, but the medically fragile children are the ones most vulnerable to the virus.

He added: "The department continues to work very closely with the facility to ensure that all infection control measures are being followed".

While workers with the Department of Health Communicable Disease Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working on stopping the outbreak, no new residents will be admitted to the Wanaque Center.

The department is continuing to investigate the outbreak.

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