7 children dead, 11 others infected in ‘severe’ viral outbreak at NJ facility: Health Department

Update: A seventh child has died during the outbreak, the Health Department confirmed Wednesday morning. For the updated story, click here.

NEW JERSEY — Six pediatric patients are dead and 12 others are sick due to a “severe” viral outbreak at a facility in New Jersey, the state Department of Health said in a statement Tuesday.

The adenovirus is pictured. (cdc.gov)

The department confirmed 18 cases of adenovirus among pediatric residents at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Passaic County. Among the 18 children sickened, six have died, the Health Department said

Adenovirus is a family of viruses that typically impact young children and usually cause only mild illness, according to the Health Department. It usually causes symptoms that mimic the common cold or the flu, and may come with other conditions, such as pink eye, according to the CDC.

“Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems,” the department stated. “The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak.”

This strain is associated with disease in communal living facilities, the officials said.

The department visited the facility Sunday and only found “minor” hand-washing deficiencies.

As its investigation continues, the center has been instructed not to admit new patients to the facility at Ringwood Avenue in Haskell.

The department said it was notified of respiratory illness at the Wannaque Center on Oct. 9, and has been in close communication with officials there since.

The department said that ages and specific medical information about the conditions the children were facing are not being released to protect patient privacy.

Wanaque Center is a pediatric and adult short- and long-term care facility. It houses both medically fragile (ventilator dependent) and non-medically fragile patients, the department said.

Officials at the Wanaque Center earlier confirmed “some cases” of the virus were found in its pediatric unit. The center has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation, and has solicited medical guidance on the virus, the AP reported.