Virus Kills Seven Children at New Jersey Medical Center

Virus Kills Seven Children at New Jersey Medical Center

New Jersey health officials say tests have confirmed a 19th patient has been infected in a viral outbreak at a pediatric rehabilitation center that has killed seven people. The department is not releasing exact ages of any patients because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and privacy reasons, Kirgan said.

Officials say 11 other children at the rehabilition center now have the virus.

In an earlier statement Wednesday the center said its top concern is for the "health and safety" of its patients, their families and staff and took "immediate and comprehensive action to implement all available infection control and prevention measures".

The for-profit facility has a pediatric center and also cares for elderly residents.

The state's Department of Health said the child's death was associated with an adenovirus outbreak at a facility that cares for children with severe disabilities and medical problems.

The center was instructed by the Health Department not to admit any new patients while there is an "ongoing outbreak investigation" underway at the facility in Haskell.

For example in 1997, an outbreak of adenovirus 7 at a U.S. Navy training center sickened more than 350 people, according to a 2002 report. Six other children died of the infection over the past two weeks. Some patients develop neurologic diseases, which can lead to death for patients with compromised immune systems.

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Inspectors from the Department of Health visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures.

The CDC said in an email that it is providing technical assistance to the state.

Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses, including the common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, bladder infection, inflammation of the stomach or neurologic diseases.

This strain of adenovirus has been associated with communal living.

"The Wanaque Center continues to fully cooperate with these agencies and has sought out their medical guidance with respect to the virus", the facility noted.

The viruses can be spread through close personal contact, coughing and sneezing or touching contaminated objects.

While there is no vaccine available to the general public, an adenovirus vaccine was developed and approved for use in the US military after adenovirus outbreaks including strain 7 illness infected recruits in the 1950s and 1960s. You can get an adenovirus infection at any age.

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