All but one case are children with weakened immune systems and other serious medical problems, many of whom need help…
All but one case are children with weakened immune systems and other serious medical problems, many of whom need help breathing and working at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey.
The confirmed cases became ill between 26 September and 5 November in the Health Care Department. The number has increased from 18 cases, including six deaths, announced last month by the health department.
An employee was also affected by the outbreak but has recovered.
The outbreak of the Wanaque plant was caused by type 7 adenovirus. This type is “most commonly associated with acute respiratory disease”, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Other types of adenovirus infections can cause flu-like symptoms, pinkeye and diarrhea.
The health department also announced Monday that a new case of adenovirus was found in children at a second New Jersey facility, the Voorhees Pediatric Facility for five. However, CDC tests indicate that the culprit is adenovirus type 3, different from that in Wanaque.
The patients in the Voorhees plant became ill between October 20 and 29. An inspection by the state health department last week found no infection control problems and issued quote.
“The Department and Local Health Partners have been working on the possibility of providing infection control recommendations and identifying other possible diseases since the plant [Voorhees] reported the department for a case of adenovirus at a resident on October 26, said the New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a statement Monday.
Health warriors say they intensify efforts to strengthen infection control at such facilities in the state. The Health Department announced last week planning to set up a team of infection control professionals to visit the University Hospital and four childcare facilities this month, including Wanaque and Voorhees facilities, where experts will train staff and evaluate how these facilities prevent and control infections.
“Outbreaks of plants are not always preventable, but In response to what we have seen in Wanaque, we take aggressive steps to minimize the chance of emerging among the most vulnerable patients in New Jersey, “said Elnahal in a statement last week.
Adenovirus is often spread by touching a contaminated person or surface, or through the air by coughing or sneezing. They are known to hold on unclean surfaces and medical instruments for long periods of time, and they can not be eliminated by common disinfectants, but they rarely lead to serious illness in healthy people. But people with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of serious disease, and they can remain contagious long after they recover, according to CDC.
Symptoms may occur two to 14 days after being exposed to the virus, the state health department said.
The infections and deaths come from – among former Wanaque Center employees, modern to one of the children who died and Elnahal himself – whether current plant standards are high enough and if more could have been done to prevent this from happening.
Elnahal said earlier in a statement that the results of a recently reconsiderated health check at the Wanaque facility “asks whether these general long-term care standards are optimal for this vulnerable population of medically fragile children.”
“We must also consider if there is more we can do as a supervisor to protect immune-defended children, such as those served at the Wanaq Ue Center, he said. “Every year in the state there are hundreds of outbreaks at health centers.”
Last week’s statements, the Wanaque plant said that it works with health experts to investigate the outbreak and that it “promptly notified all appropriate authorities when the virus was initially identified. “According to the state health department’s spokeswoman Nicole Kirgan, healthcare officials of respiratory disease were notified at the facility on October 9th, and the parents reported 10 days later on October 19th.
The facility did not respond to CNN’s calls and emails for further comment.
The facility has been instructed not to acknowledge any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance. According to state health care officials, the outbreak can only be declared when four weeks leave without another opportunity.
“It can be difficult to know impossible how the virus came to the plant, what its source was or what it was specific. The spreading mechanism is from person to person, “said Elnahal.
CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski contributed to this report.