Adenovirus outbreak claims 9th child at New Jersey facility


A ninth child has died from the "severe" adenovirus outbreak at a New Jersey facility, the state's Department of Health confirmed.

The new diagnosis brings the total number of cases at the facility to 25.

"We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility", said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a statement.

Health officials found minor hand-washing deficiencies at the facility during visits last week, and have been working with the center on infection-control issues, the health department said. A staff member also became ill.

Twenty-five pediatric cases of adenovirus have been connected to the outbreak at this facility, officials said. The most recent outbreak of the illness at the facility, about 32 miles (50 km) northwest of New York City, was October 22. The patients affected had "severely compromised immune systems", including respiratory problems, before the outbreak.

Adenovirus usually poses little risk for healthy people and typically causes mild cold or flu symptoms.

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The mother of a 16-year-old girl who was killed by the viral outbreak said her daughter Elizabeth was diagnosed days before state health officials knew about the virus. "As a result, facility staff have diligently implemented all available infection control and prevention measures in order to protect the health and safety of the Wanaque Center's residents".

Adenovirus causes severe flu-like symptoms but can be even more risky than the typical flu virus.

The facility has since stopped admitting new residents as long as the outbreak is ongoing.

The viruses themselves are also "resistant to many common disinfectants and can remain infectious for long periods on environmental surfaces and medical instruments", the CDC says.

Adenovirus is a respiratory disease with symptoms that may include a sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Still, Schaffner doesn't think people need to be anxious about adenoviruses.