November 1, 2018 / 1:23 PM / 18 days ago

Tenth child dies from viral outbreak at New Jersey facility

(Reuters) - A 10th child died has in a viral outbreak at a rehabilitation center in northern New Jersey, where 27 young patients with compromised immune systems have been confirmed with adenovirus infections, state health officials said.

The child had fallen ill prior to Oct. 22, the New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement late on Wednesday. It did not say when the child died at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in the town of Haskell.

So far, those affected by the virus had become ill between Sept. 26 and Oct. 29, the statement said. The first six deaths were announced by health officials on Oct. 23.

“We are working closely with the facility to conduct respiratory illness surveillance and ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said.

Elnahal said earlier this week a Department of Health team of infection control experts and epidemiologists would visit several long-term pediatric healthcare facilities this month to assess infection-control procedures and to train staff.

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.

Adenoviruses frequently cause mild to severe illness with cold-like symptoms, particularly in young children. The infection can cause other illnesses, including pneumonia, diarrhea and bronchitis.

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, most of them under 18.

The Wanaque Center, which includes a pediatric center, has been instructed not to admit new patients until the outbreak ends, health officials have said.

One staff member at Wanaque also became ill and has since recovered, the department said.

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

Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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