Ninth Child Dies Amid Adenovirus Outbreak In New Jersey

Antibiotics and a thermometer
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After an outbreak of the adenovirus was reported at a New Jersey nursing home last week, it has been confirmed that a ninth child has died at the facility. Eight of the deaths so far have been confirmed as resulting from the adenovirus.

According to Gizmodo, between September 26 and October 22, a total of 25 cases of pediatric adenovirus have occurred at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.

Symptoms of the virus can include respiratory problems, diarrhea, fever, internal inflammation, and neurological disease. The outbreak at Wanaque Center is being classified as type 7, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes is “most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease.”

While these infections are usually mild, they can be particularly dangerous for people who are immunocompromised or already have underlying respiratory issues. Patients with these problems who become infected can also remain infectious for a longer period of time than others.

Although only eight of the deaths are so far being attributed to the adenovirus, it is suspected that lab reports will also confirm the ninth death to be related to the infection.

The ninth patient, who was described as “medically fragile with respiratory illness,” passed away late on Saturday night. The eighth patient had died just the night before.

Per CNN, the virus is often found on “unclean surfaces and medical instruments, and may not be eliminated by common disinfectants.” It is particularly common in areas frequented by large groups of children.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the state health commissioner, noted that all of the children infected at the Wanaque Center have compromised immune systems and are reliant on breathing machines. As a result of their reliance on the equipment, the facility was unable to quarantine the sick children, allowing the virus to spread among them.

“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now. We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility.”

The center notified the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) as soon as they were able to identify the virus and complied with all orders given to them in the wake of the outbreak, including barring any new admissions to the facility. But at the same time, there was a “shortage of nursing staff which may lead to poor infection control practices that can put patient safety at risk.”

Among the concerns identified in the initial investigation include “minor hand-washing deficiencies.” While the facility was rated overall as above average, the hygiene practices in the center were rated below average in an inspection that took place back in August.