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Nine children reported dead at New Jersey facility after contracting virus

31 October 2018

State officials say the outbreak won't be declared over until the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation can go four weeks without any new cases of people being infected with a germ called adenovirus 7. Wednesday the department announced an additional child death.

The "medically fragile" child, whose identity was not made public, died late Saturday at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, N.J., just one day after the facility's eighth death.

There have been 25 confirmed pediatric adenovirus cases at Wanaque, including the eight child deaths.

The illness, identified as adenovirus 7, poses the most significant risk to patients with weakened immune systems or existing respiratory and cardiac disease.

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The infection can cause other illnesses, including pneumonia, diarrhea and bronchitis, the department said.

The child, already fragile and suffering respiratory illness, was not confirmed to have a common infection, health officials said.

The Wanaque Center, about 32 miles (50 km) northwest of NY, serves newborns to 22-year-olds who are "medically fragile".

Similarly, the states' health department also ensures that it is working very closely with the facility to monitor the illness outbreak, and to ensure that all infection control measures are being followed.

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Those affected range in age from toddlers to young adults, with the vast majority under the age of 18.

Adenovirus is mild and feels like a cold or flu, experts say. The health department was first notified of the outbreak on October 9, according to a statement from the agency. And for most patients, only home remedies and over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms are needed. And while a vaccine exists, it's available only to military recruits.

The viruses typically spread from close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, through the air by coughing and sneezing, and touching objects or surfaces that have the viruses on them before touching one's mouth, nose, or eyes.

The infections "usually occur sporadically - here a case, there a case - so outbreaks are pretty rare", Schaffner said. These six types accounted for 85.5% of 1,497 laboratory-confirmed specimens reported during the time period. They're awaiting test results.

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Nine children reported dead at New Jersey facility after contracting virus