9th death reported at pediatric center amid viral outbreak

Cheryl Sanders
October 31, 2018

The patient was one of 25 sickened by an outbreak of a respiratory virus called adenovirus, which swept through Wanaque between September 26 and October 22, mainly affecting patients in the pediatric ventilator unit.

Adenovirus has not been confirmed in another person who died Friday afternoon, officials said.

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.

The "medically fragile" unnamed child died overnight at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, just two days after the facility announced the death of an eighth child.

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

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There have been 25 total cases of the virus at the facility.

The facility said that it would not admit new residents for the duration of the outbreak.

Adenovirus frequently causes mild to severe illness with cold-like symptoms, particularly in young children.

The strain of adenovirus is associated with communal living arrangements, it said.

The health department says the adenovirus outbreak has been particularly severe because it is affecting children with severely compromised immune systems.

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

One of the teams will be deployed to the Wanaque Centre for Nursing and Rehabilitation in November.

The viruses themselves are also "resistant to many common disinfectants and can remain infectious for long periods on environmental surfaces and medical instruments", the CDC says.

Still, Schaffner doesn't think people need to be anxious about adenoviruses.

"As part of an ongoing effort to ensure all infection control measures are followed, we are taking extra steps to monitor residents and staff for any signs of infectious illness", Elnahal said.

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