Viral outbreak kills 6 children at NJ facility

The department had reportedly been notified by the 227-bed facility of cases of respiratory illness on Oct. 9

The department confirmed 18 cases of adenovirus among pediatric residents at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Passaic County.

Six children have died and another 12 have fallen ill after a "severe outbreak" of a potentially life-threatening virus at a New Jersey health facility. "Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems".

This strain is associated with disease in communal living facilities, the officials said.

The facility is not admitting any new patients until the outbreak ends, the statement said. A team was sent back Tuesday.

"This is an ongoing outbreak investigation", the department said in its statement.

Adenoviruses are responsible for about 10 percent of fever-related infections among USA children, and most children will have at least one type of infection by age 10.

According to NJ.com, in addition to housing pediatric patients, the facility also serves as an adult nursing home and rehabilitation center for short- and long-term care. "I have been briefed by [Commissioner of Health] Dr. Elnahal, who has assured me that the Department of Health has recommended vital measures to enhance protections against the further spread of infection and will continue its active on-site surveillance". Health officials are working with the centre on infection control issues.

After experiencing cases of adenovirus in its paediatric unit, the centre notified government health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is fully cooperating with them and has sought out their guidance, the Wanaque centre said in a statement emailed by Rowena Bautista, administrator of the centre.

Adenoviruses typically cause "mild illness" but the children affected are "medically fragile", officials say.

The state has barred the facility, the Wanaque Centre for Nursing and Rehabilitation, from accepting new patients until the outbreak is contained.

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