19th case confirmed in viral outbreak that killed 7

Alicia Farmer
October 28, 2018

But when Elizabeth Poulos - who could not speak and struggled with lifelong respiratory issues, stomach problems and seizures - died Tuesday, the 16-year-old became the latest casualty of an adenovirus outbreak at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, that has claimed the lives of seven children and sickened a dozen more.

The strain afflicting the children is usually associated with acute respiratory illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on its website instructs health workers to report unusual clusters to state or local health departments.

The rehabilitation center notified the health department of respiratory illnesses at the facility October 9 and sent letters to patients' parents, notifying them about the infections October 19, according to CNN.

Most of those who died in the adenovirus outbreak were under 18, but at least one was a young adult, the state Health Department said.

"It's more risky in children or adults who are immuno-compromised", Ellerin said. She would have dealt with things differently if she had known about the outbreak, she said.

Elnahal said the Health Department was first notified by the center about a potential outbreak on October 9.

The six deaths happened this month, according to Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner. In an interview, he described the patients as "fragile".

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The 227-bed for-profit facility has a pediatric center and also cares for elderly residents.

Elnahal said a surprise inspection at the facility this past weekend found only a handwashing deficiency.

"As the staff works to contain the spread of the virus they will also continue to advocate for stronger protocols and implementation of infection control policies", the president, Debbie White, said in a statement.

It's unclear why there was a gap between when the center notified the state and when officials were sent over.

The identities of those who died and the affected patients have not been disclosed.

The exact cause of the outbreak is still unknown, although the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation cares for pediatric patients with various medical conditions that make them more susceptible to serious infections.

The CDC is providing technical assistance to the state Health Department.

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