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N.J.. Waited 2 weeks after fatal outbreak to inspect children's center. Was that the right call?

The children began to get sick on an invaluable hot day at the end of September. However, it was not…

The children began to get sick on an invaluable hot day at the end of September.

However, it was not until October 9 – and after two children’s death – when the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation announced the State Health Department of a virus outbreak in long-term care in northern New Jersey. And then another 12 days before the state inspectors entered the door.

The devastating outbreak of adenovirus at Wanaque Center in Haskell has so far led to the deaths of 10 children and infected 19 more. How the outbreak started is still unknown.

However, a survey of how the outbreak developed and spread rapidly has raised questions about why health officials waited two weeks before a team was drafted to figure out how Wanaque handled the crisis.

The state’s response will be part of what the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will investigate when a hearing is held on December 3 to discuss the outbreak, “said Sen. Joseph Vitale, chairman of the committee.

Death stalked Wanaque center. Nevertheless, the sent children sent to the hospital, workers claim

“We will ask as many questions as we can, but it will be one of them,” says Vitale, D-Middlesex.

“We want to know when it was reported, how the department responded and how the facility responded,” Vitale said, adding that he would be careful “until we know all the facts.”

“No doubt we’re all worried about this, and as a layman I say there’s something here, he said.”

Death stalced the Wanaque Center. Still, the sending children delayed the hospital, workers claim

Wanaque notified state and local health departments about the outbreak after opening hours on October 9, according to health spokesman Donna Leusner. 1

9659002] “The state immediately ordered the facility for infection control protocols, which should be implemented immediately,” said Leusner.

Next day , The Institution’s Communicable Disease Service – together with the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Local Health Department began working with Wanaque to recommend infection control practices, she said.

The state sent two registered nurses from their healthcare office, survey and field operations on 21 October and implemented one Surprise control. A state inspection specialist has remained in place.

The state conducted a second surprise inspection on Friday after a report from NJ Advance Media citing workers at Wanaque Center who claimed that administrators delayed sending critical sick children to the hospital because they wanted to lose Medicaid funding if a baby bed ran out of order.

The decision to wait two weeks before sending healthcare staff was based on science to allow an incubation period to go to see if Wanaque’s handling of the outbreak worked, said Leusner.

The incubation period for the adenovirus virus is two weeks, said the department.

“It had been impossible to determine that an on-site presence could have been useful before the incubation period’s worth of time,” said health department spokesman Dawn Thomas. “

” Contains the virus in the end, due to plant management and clinical personnel following these protocols in any event, for every patient and health department takes all the steps it takes to keep the plant responsible for this, “says Thomas.

Wanaque Centers Profit-Driven Owners, Continuum Healthcare, who have rejected several times, did not leave a conversation on Friday.

“The Commissioner believes that the DOH staff responded appropriately at any time, given the information we had,” she said.

Adenovirus is actually a group of viruses that rarely are fatal. They mimic the flu and cold, often attacking the respiratory tract, but can also cause gastroenteritis and conjunctivitis. They tend to affect infants and children, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The disease from the virus is usually mild and people usually recover within a few days. However, in some cases, adenovirus infections may be potentially life threatening, especially those with weakened immune systems.

All children in the Wanaque Center are medically fragile. Most people need fans to help them breathe. Some had serious birth defects and significant health problems.

Why, however, they still remain puzzling for some.

“These children were very delicate and difficult adenovirus can certainly be fatal,” said David Cennimo, an epidemiologist at University Hospital in Newark, and professor of medicine at Rutgers University Medical School. “It’s a bad breath and you can end up in a fan. But these kids were already on a fan and I wonder why they could not support them through this.”

Not involved directly or knew specific about their case, He said he wondered if there were secondary infections. There are many unanswered questions, he added.

“I do not understand. It’s a healthcare institution.” These children are monitored. I can not explain it, “he said.

The State Health Officer, while they continue to investigate, said they may never know the answer to how the virus spread.

” It is impossible for us to know exactly what the factors were related to the spread, “says Christina Tan, the state epidemiologist who heads the health department’s communicable disease service.” There are many factors. “

Adenovirus is not an airborne threat. It does not spread through a building’s heating and ventilation system, such as Legionnaire & # 39, s Disease, explains Tan. Instead, the virus travels through respiratory droplets or contact.

The state inspects these facilities every nine to 15 months, says Leusner.

Wanaque Center had repeatedly been cited for hand wash and infection control both before and after the outbreak, according to state and federal inspection reports.

During an inspection last month, the state said that there were germicidal disposable towels, sanitary ware, masks, gloves and dresses available on every wing, and mostly in all rooms for staff and visitors to use before entering the room. The report said that there were also adenovirus guidelines for visitors that are visible in each room, warning visitors not to visit if they are ill and observed staff cleaning the rooms with bactericidal cleaning solutions.

However, the report noted shortcomings in hand-washing procedures where staff members were not washed for a long time.

Wash hands is imperative. Quick rinsing, but at least 20 seconds. They teach healthcare companies to sing “Happy Birthday” for themselves about twice. At the Wanaque Center, state inspectors found that some nurses did not even come through the first verse in terms of timing.

Cennimo said there was a high likelihood that the only way that it would have been moved from a bedside patient to another was by someone who cares about the children.

“I would be concerned that the custody of the children was the contact vector between them,” says Cennimo.

The Vital Health Committee chairman said he hopes to find out if the outbreak was spiral due to human error or systemic weaknesses. Perhaps it’s both. he said.

“These children are physically fragile and depend on other people for their survival,” added Vitale.

NJ Advance Media Staff Writer Spencer Kent contributed to this report.

“It should not have happened to this extent. A child gets sick and maybe two, but this many? Ted Sherman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TedShermanSL . Facebook: @ TedSherman.reporter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

Susan K Livio can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio . Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

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