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Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Rehabilitation Center Leaves 6 Children Dead

24 October 2018
Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Rehabilitation Center Leaves 6 Children Dead

The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed that a total of 18 children with compromised immune systems were infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.

The facility has been told it can't admit any new patients until the outbreak ends.

The strain afflicting the children is usually associated with acute respiratory illness, according to the CDC, which on its website instructs health workers to report unusual clusters to state or local health departments.

The outbreak occurred at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, in northern New Jersey.

They are a common cause of illnesses ranging from a cold to bronchitis to pneumonia and even pink eye, particularly in young children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an email that no one was available to comment on how unusual it is for six adenovirus deaths in such a population of patients.

The viruses can be spread through close personal contact, coughing and sneezing or touching contaminated objects.

What's behind the New Jersey outbreak?

Six children at a New Jersey healthcare facility have died in an outbreak of adenovirus, a virus that can cause cold and flu-like symptoms, according to health officials.

The state investigation is ongoing.

This strain is associated with disease in communal living facilities, the officials said.

Serious complications are uncommon, but the CDC notes those with "weakened immune systems, or existing respiratory or cardiac disease" are at a higher risk of severe sickness from adenovirus infections. The CDC is now investigating an uptick in AFM cases, with 62 diagnoses confirmed so far this year in 22 states including New Jersey. According to the health department, the team found minor handwashing deficiencies; they will continue to work closely with the facility on infection control issues.

An inspection team from the state health department responded to the facility on Sunday and another team from the agency returned to the center on Tuesday.