Six children dead in virus outbreak at U.S. health centre


Six young patients died and 12 others became sick following an outbreak of adenovirus at a rehabilitation center in Haskell, New Jersey, the state's Health Department said on Tuesday.

"The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe", health officials said.

The state health department is "continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues".

Health officials said the center has been barred from admitting new patients until the outbreak is cleared and "they are in full compliance".

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, who is not involved in the outbreak investigation, agreed that the deaths in this outbreak may be partially explained by the fact that the children had underlying medical conditions that predisposed them to severe infection.

The origin of the outbreak at the Wanaque Center remains unclear, but officials told the facility notified them of some respiratory illnesses on October 9.

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The health department will continue an active on-site surveillance and has recommended measures to protect against the further spread of infection, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter.

The children were infected with the virus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, which houses a rehabilitation center, a nursing home for elderly people and a pediatrics unit.

An inspection team dispatched to the facility on Sunday found minor hand-washing deficiencies, the health department said.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, although serious illness with adenovirus is not common, the according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A scientific paper cited by the CDC reported that a 1998 outbreak of type 7 adenovirus at a pediatric chronic-care facility in Chicago claimed the lives of eight patients. Messages left with the center were not returned.