6 children dead from adenovirus outbreak in New Jersey

The department had reportedly been notified by the 227-bed facility of cases of respiratory illness on Oct. 9

The department had reportedly been notified by the 227-bed facility of cases of respiratory illness on Oct. 9

The state Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed the 18 cases of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell in Passaic County.

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.

Adenoviruses typically cause "mild illness" but the children affected are "medically fragile", officials say. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak".

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

Inspectors from the Department of Health visited the facility on Sunday and found "minor handwashing deficiencies".

The department is continuing to investigate the outbreak. For example in 1997, an outbreak of adenovirus 7 at a U.S. Navy training center sickened more than 350 people, according to a 2002 report.

The department said that ages and specific medical information about the conditions the children were facing are not being released to protect patient privacy. Health officials are working with the center on infection control issues.

The outbreak occurred in recent days at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, according to a statement from the New Jersey Department of Health.

Wanaque is a residential facility that cares for "medically fragile" newborns, children and young adults, as well as elderly individuals and those requiring rehabilitation. Those with weakened immune systems may also carry and transmit the virus after they have recovered from an illness, the CDC says.

A voice mail message left for the director of nursing at the Wanaque Center on Tuesday was not immediately returned. "The Wanaque Center continues to fully cooperate with these agencies and has sought out their medical guidance with respect to the virus".

New patients are being barred from going to the facility until the outbreak is over.

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