Tenth child dies from viral outbreak at New Jersey facility


A 10th child has died following an outbreak of adenovirus at a New Jersey rehabilitation facility, state health officials said.

State health experts believe the children were exposed between September 26 and October 29, but symptoms can appear as many as 14 days after exposure. They may not be eliminated by common disinfectants, but they rarely cause severe illness in healthy people.

Officials found some hand-washing deficiencies at the Wanaque Center during visits last week, and were working with the facility on infection-control issues, the health department said.

The state health department says there are four confirmed adenovirus cases among pediatric patients at Voorhees Pediatric Facility.

While the age of the 10th child who died was not given, the ages of the first nine patients who succumbed to the virus ranged from toddler to young adults, majority under 18.

Preliminary tests have ruled out the strain linked to the 10 deaths at the Wanaque facility.

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Health experts say that the amount of time it takes to respond to a potential outbreak and notify families is variable and may depend on how long they need to investigate an outbreak, culture a virus and confirm its identity.

Officials have ordered the facility to stop admitting new patients until the outbreak ends. "Some have been hospitalized, and some are being cared for at this facility", Elnahal said.

"As a parent and as a legislator, I am absolutely horrified by the details that have emerged surrounding the viral outbreak at the Wanaque Center", said Assemblywoman Joann Downey, D-11th District and chair of the Human Services Committee, in a statement. It can cause mild cold or flu symptoms, and some strains also cause diarrhea and pinkeye.

Elnahal had earlier said all the cases of the outbreak occurred in a respiratory, or ventilator, unit.

The department says 27 cases have been associated with the respiratory virus at the centre. The outbreak was reported to authorities October 9, the state health department said.