New Jersey viral outbreak leaves six children dead, 12 ill

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

An additional 12 children at the facility, called the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, have also fallen ill with adenovirus, according to a statement from the New Jersey Department of Health.

According to a release on the department of health website, there are 18 cases of adenovirus among pediatric residents at the facility; six pediatric residents have died.

Officials in New Jersey say the outbreak there is unusually severe because the children at the Wanaque Center have "severely compromised immune systems".

Inspectors from the Department of Health have visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures.

The statement said the health department sent a team to the facility to inspect on Sunday, and again on Tuesday, and that they found minor handwashing deficiencies.

Adenoviruses often cause mild illness, particularly in young children, but people with weakened immune systems are at risk of getting severely sick, according to the CDC. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak".




A team from the health department were on hand at the center Tuesday to investigate.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement, saying he was "heartbroken" over the deaths. Symptoms usually include sore throats, pneumonia, diarrhea and pink eye.

The state has barred the facility, the Wanaque Centre for Nursing and Rehabilitation, from accepting new patients until the outbreak is contained.

The facility promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified, including the New Jersey Department of Health, The Passaic County Department of Health, The Communicable Disease Service and the Centers for Disease Control.

But the health department said the patients affected are "medically fragile children".

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