Published: Wed, October 31, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Ninth child dies in deadly viral outbreak in New Jersey

Ninth child dies in deadly viral outbreak in New Jersey

Another child is dead as a result of an ongoing outbreak at the Wanaque Center For Nursing And Rehabilitation in New Jersey.

A child patient with respiratory illness at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell died Saturday, bringing the total deaths among facility residents to nine.

The department confirmed 25 pediatric cases have been associated with the outbreak.

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.

It is awaiting laboratory confirmation of adenoviruses in a child who died Friday.

The nine children who died in the outbreak that began September 26 range in age from toddler to young adult, with a lot of them under age 18. 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. Some strains also cause diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

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The children affected were previously described in a health department statement as "medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems".

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.

The 227-bed, for-profit facility has a pediatric center and also cares for elderly residents. And for most patients, only home remedies and over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms are needed. "We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility".

The department is continuing to investigate the outbreak. Adenoviruses usually just cause mild illnesses.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control was assisting state health officials with testing and "expertise", according to the New Jersey Department.

Those cases are not related to the virus at the Wanaque center, the Health Department said. Type 7 is most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease, according to the CDC.

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