A serious virus outbreak has claimed six children's lives at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell. State…
A serious virus outbreak has claimed six children‘s lives at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell. State healthcare staff were confirmed on Tuesday, which led to an immediate order to close the facility to new patients.
The Department of Health reported 18 cases of adenovirus among children in the long-term care center in northern New Jersey, which officials said they included “very sick children”, some of whom were on ventilators and had air pipes.
“This is an ongoing outbreak investigation,” said spokesman Nicole Kirgan in a statement. “A departmental group is present on the plant today and an inspection team was there also on Sunday. The team on Sunday found less hand wash deficiencies and the health care department continues to work close to the facility on infection control issues.”
She said the facility will remain closed for new patients until “the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance.”
The department would not say specifically when the children died, only the death occurred this month.
It’s unclear exactly when the virus broke out. The Ministry of Health said there was a reported respiratory disease at the facility on October 9th. A letter dated 1
8 October was sent to parents for patients who warn them for the outbreak. However, officials earlier this week would not initially say if any children had died or the extent of the virus outbreak.
While adenovirus is a typical mild disease that mimics flu and colds, it can cause serious complications for some people, especially those with weakened immune systems, officials said.
“Unfortunately, the specific strain of adenovirus (# 7) in this outbreak affects medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems,” says Kirgan. “The tribe has been particularly associated with disease in municipal life arrangements and may be more difficult.”
Rowena Bautista, administrator of Wanaque Center, said that the facility “promptly notified all appropriate authorities when the virus was originally identified.”
In a statement, she added that the facility staff “carefully carried out all available infection control and preventive measures to protect health and the safety of Wanaque Center residents. “
Wanaque Center is a 227-bed-for-profit facility that, according to its website, works with “medically fragile children”. It is also an adult home and rehabilitation center for short and long term care.
State Secretary Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, responsible for Senate’s Health Committee, said there must be a “very thorough investigation” of what happened and how it happened.
“It’s just terrible,” he said. “My big question is how long they waited until the department was notified. I do not know what they did to mitigate the problem.”
He added that there could be legal hearings. “This may be a red flag and warning for other facilities,” he says.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adenovirus is typically spread from an infected person to others through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, coughing and sneezing, and touching an object or surface with adenovirus on it.
Health experts say it’s unusual for people to die of adenovirus.
“Adenovirus can cause more fever and more bronchitis than or wheezing than a rhinovirus shield, for example, but most do well,” says doctor David Cennimo, a deputy professor of infectious diseases in medicine and children at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School . “In rare cases this is deadly.”