Health Officials On Alert After Adenovirus Outbreak In North Jersey

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Six children are dead after an outbreak of adenoviruses in a north New Jersey pediatrics center.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that those children, and 12 others who have gotten sick, are patients at Wanaque Center for Nursing in Haskell, in Passaic County, a facility for “medically fragile children.”

Adenoviruses are responsible for causing a host of illnesses, from the common cold to pneumonia to “neurologic disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Illnesses can range from mild to serious, although usually only those who already immune compromised get severely ill.

“Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems. The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe,” Shereef Elnahal, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, said.

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The Department of Health sent teams to the facility Oct. 21 and 23. The Department reported that the team found “minor handwashing deficiencies” and that it’s working closely with the facility on infection-control issues.

The Department has instructed the facility not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance. The investigation is ongoing.