Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Viral outbreak kills 6 children at NJ facility

Viral outbreak kills 6 children at NJ facility

A severe viral outbreak at a New Jersey pediatric hospital has left six children dead and 12 others infected, the state's Department of Health said Tuesday. Health officials are working with the center on infection control issues.

The Passaic County facility has been instructed to not admit any new patients until the outbreak ends.

Adenoviruses frequently cause mild illness, with cold-like symptoms, particularly in young children.

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.

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Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that he was "heartbroken" about the deaths and that he had been briefed by the health commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, who told him that the department is on site and trying to prevent the virus from spreading further.

The facility notified the state's health department of respiratory illnesses October 9.

The state investigation is ongoing.

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

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The viruses can be spread through close personal contact, coughing and sneezing or touching contaminated objects.

The center's website says it treats "medically fragile children" in its pediatrics center.

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After experiencing cases of adenovirus in its pediatric unit, the center notified government health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is fully cooperating with them and has sought out their guidance, the Wanaque center said in a statement emailed by Rowena Bautista, administrator of the center.

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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, reports.

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