Ninth child dies in deadly viral outbreak in New Jersey

A ninth child died over the weekend in a deadly viral outbreak at a New Jersey rehabilitation center where a total of 25 young patients with compromised immune systems have been confirmed with adenovirus infections, state health officials said.

The death on Sunday at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, was reported over the weekend by the New Jersey Department of Health.

“These children were all largely ventilator dependant and immuno-compromised,” said NJDOH spokeswoman Donna Leusner.

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

The infection can cause other illnesses, including pneumonia, diarrhea and bronchitis, the department said.

An eighth child’s death on Friday afternoon was associated with the outbreak, Leusner said.

The nine children who died in the outbreak that began Sept. 26 range in age from toddler to young adult, with most of them under age 18. The most recent outbreak of the illness at the facility, about 32 miles (50 km) northwest of New York City, was Oct. 22.

The facility, which includes a pediatric center, has been instructed not to admit new patients until the outbreak ends, the department said.

The strain of adenovirus is associated with communal living arrangements, it said.

“We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement.

Health officials found minor hand-washing deficiencies at the facility during visits last week, and have been working with the center on infection-control issues, the health department said.

A staff member at the facility also fell ill during the outbreak, but has since recovered.

The state Department of Health Communicable Disease Service has been on site monitoring the outbreak. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was assisting with laboratory testing.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by David Gregorio