Number of Infected in Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Medical Center Rises; 7 Children Dead - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Number of Infected in Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Medical Center Rises; 7 Children Dead



    7th Child Dies From Viral Outbreak in New Jersey

    The death toll has climbed in the viral outbreak in a medical center in New Jersey. Seven children have now died at a nursing and rehabilitation center. Rana Novini reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018)

    The 19th case of adenovirus at a long-term medical care facility in New Jersey was confirmed by the state’s Department of Health Thursday.

    The latest update follows news of the Wednesday death of a seventh child who was being treated at the facility, the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County.

    The medical institution houses the Pediatric Center; the seven deaths came from, what at the time was, 18 infected kids.

    The facility has been instructed not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance, the DOH said Tuesday.

    The 19th case occurred in a resident who had already been sick, health officials say. The patient had become ill before Oct. 22 — the most recent date of illness onset.

    The medical center has been grappling with a “severe outbreak” of adenovirus, a family of viruses that can otherwise cause mild illness, according to the state's Department of Health.

    "The Department continues to work very closely with the facility to ensure that all infection control measures are being followed," DOH added in a new statement Wednesday.

    Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The viruses cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye. Adenoviruses can pose serious complications to certain people, particularly those with weakened immune systems, respiratory issues and cardiac disease.

    That is the case at the Wanaque Center, health officials said.

    "Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems," the New Jersey Department of Health in a statement Tuesday. "This strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living facilities."

    According to the CDC, adenoviruses are typically spread from an infected person to others through: close personal contact such touching or shaking hands; through the air by coughing and sneezing; or by touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

    Health investigators visited the facility over the weekend as part of their probe, officials said.

    The state’s Department of Health said they were informed of the outbreak on Oct. 9. On Sunday, state health officials found handwashing discrepancies.

    The I-Team has uncovered inspection reports for the center dating back to 2015. During that time the facility was cited for 14 violations, including infection control.

    The state Department of Health has said that it is monitoring the situation “very closely” and has been in contact with the staff at the center “providing guidance on infection control and cleaning procedures.”

    The Wanaque Center is a for-profit facility that, according to its website, works with "with medically fragile children" from newborn to 22 years of age. The center also serves as an adult nursing home and rehabilitation center for short- and long-term care.

    New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday he is “gutted” by the news that “seven precious children have lost their lives.”

    The Wanaque Center did not immediately respond to request for comment.

    The state's Department of Health says the investigation is ongoing and says additional lab tests could confirm more cases.