N.J. Health Dept.: 6 Children Dead Due To Outbreak Of Adenovirus

Henrietta Brewer
October 24, 2018

Six young patients died and 12 others became sick following an outbreak of adenovirus at a rehabilitation center in Haskell, New Jersey, the state's Health Department said on Tuesday.

The strain (adenovirus #7) is affecting medically-fragile children with severely compromised immune systems, the department said.

"This strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living facilities", the department said in a statement.

Officials have instructed the center not admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance.

Inspectors from the health department arrived at Wanaque Center on Sunday and found "minor handwashing deficiencies", the department said in a statement. A team was sent back Tuesday.

The department said it was notified of respiratory illness at the Wannaque Center on October 9, and has been in close communication with officials there since.

More information about adenovirus is available on Health Canada's website.

Some strains of adenovirus can cause the common cold, sore throat, while other, more serious issues, can cause bladder or stomach inflammation. The department is not releasing exact ages of any patients because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and privacy reasons, Kirgan said.

The facility houses an adult nursing home, a rehabilitation center and a pediatrics unit.

Those who have weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of developing a severe illness or neurological diseases from an adenovirus infection. Messages left with the center were not returned. The center has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation, and has solicited medical guidance on the virus, the AP reported.

Wanaque was also one of the subjects of a $50 million lawsuit earlier this year, when the estate of a 75-year-old Alzheimer's patient accused staff at the facility, as well as local police, of negligence and recklessness, NorthJersey.com reports.

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