NEWARK, NJ — An eighth child has died after being cared for at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey.
The State Department of Health is investigating and monitoring the facility after 24 have gotten sick, including an otherwise healthy staff member. State officials say the adenovirus typically preys on people with weakened immune systems in a healthcare setting. They believe the virus does not pose a threat to the general public.
The department is also investigating a separate outbreak at University Hospital in Newark, which has claimed the life of a premature infant. Acinobacter is spread through touch and three more infants are infected. Officials say that this second deadly health crisis is isolated to the neonatal intensive care unit inside the hospital.
"We discovered that the bacteria had been an issue for University Hospital for some time," said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. "We have clear indication that infection control protocols were not being followed, which is why we are immediately taking action there."
Two teams of state investigators found that hospital staff fail to wash their hands. They also discovered clean and dirty medical equipment being mixed together.
"Improving quality is my top priority at University Hospital now," said Dr. Elnahal.
The state has ordered University Hospital to hire an outside infection control specialist. The hospital first notified the state about this bacterial outbreak on Oct. 1.
But patient safety has been an ongoing problem. Earlier this year, University Hospital got an “F” for safety from Leapfrog, a health advocacy group that grades hospitals throughout the country. Medicare has rated this hospital a 1-star facility.
A hospital spokesperson said today that they take “patient safety, including infection control, very seriously. We have been in regular communication with the Department of Health and continue to work closely with them to address this issue as quickly as possible.”
State health officials say neither of these deadly infections pose a risk to the general public.