Eleventh child dies from viral outbreak at New Jersey facility

An 11th child has died in less than four weeks at a New Jersey rehabilitation center, one of 34 young patients with compromised immune systems to have been infected by a viral outbreak, state health officials said on Friday.

The child, who died late Thursday, and the others at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in the town of Haskell, became ill with adenovirus between Sept. 26 and Nov. 12, the state’s Department of Health said in a statement.

The deaths of the first six children at the facility’s pediatric center were announced by health officials on Oct. 23.

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 strain of adenovirus affecting the facility is associated with communal living arrangements, the health department said.

State health officials, after prohibiting new admissions to the facility, said they put out a call for volunteer medical professionals on Thursday to help separate ill children at the facility from those without symptoms by Nov. 21.

In previous inspections since the outbreak, officials found some hand-washing deficiencies at the Wanaque Center, and were working with the facility on infection-control issues, the health department said.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said last month that a team of infection control experts and epidemiologists would visit several long-term pediatric healthcare facilities to assess their infection-control procedures and train the Wanaque staff.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Richard Chang