9th death reported at pediatric centre amid viral outbreak

Alicia Farmer
October 31, 2018

New Jersey health officials say tests have confirmed a 19th patient has been infected in a viral outbreak at a pediatric rehabilitation centre that has killed seven people.

They said the unidentified child who died Saturday evening at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell was "medically fragile", CBS News reported.

The new diagnosis brings the total number of cases at the facility to 25.

The teams will assess infection prevention practices and deploy beginning in November, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

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

The first symptoms showed up September 26, and the state was notified of an outbreak October 9, officials said.

The ninth child became ill before October 22 and died on October 28, the New Jersey Department of Health said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control was assisting state health officials with testing and "expertise", according to the New Jersey Department. Eleven other children remain sick.

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

The department says there have been eight pediatric deaths associated with the outbreak and at least one young adult.

Symptoms include a sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, fever, and neurologic disease.

"Not all viruses are adenovirus".

Adenoviruses, of which there are 52 different strains, are common causes of respiratory illnesses and most infections aren't severe, according to the CDC.

"The facility has agreed to cease new admissions for the duration of the outbreak", the department said.

"Facility outbreaks are not always preventable, but in response to what we have seen in Wanaque, we are taking aggressive steps to minimize the chance they occur among the most vulnerable patients in New Jersey", Elnahal said in a statement.

The department is continuing to investigate the outbreak.

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