9th death reported at pediatric center amid viral outbreak

Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

9th child dies in adenovirus outbreak at NJ health facility, Health Department confirms

The state has reported that health officials first became aware of the outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, on October 9. New diagnoses bring the total number of cases to 25.

Eight deaths at the facility have been confirmed as adenovirus-related.

Teams will also be sent to the Voorhees Pediatric Facility in the state, and the Children's Specialised Hospital with locations in Toms River and Mountainside.

"This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now", Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement released on Sunday. "We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility".

A health department spokesman said: "The strain of adenovirus seen in this outbreak is associated with communal living arrangements and known to cause severe illness". 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. They ranged in age "from a toddler through young adults, but most are under 18".

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

The child, already fragile and suffering respiratory illness, was not confirmed to have a common infection, health officials said. Those with weakened immune systems, though, have a higher risk for severe disease and may remain infectious long after they recover, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The department said it is an active outbreak investigation and lab tests could confirm additional cases.

Rowena Bautista, the administrator of the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, said Thursday in a statement the community "feels a tremendous sense of loss". Symptoms include the common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, and fever and bladder infections. The CDC is also investigating the outbreak.

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