New Jersey viral outbreak leaves six children dead, 12 ill

6 kids dead at nj medical facility

State officials confirmed a total of 18 cases of adenovirus among paediatric patients at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Tuesday.

A severe viral outbreak at a New Jersey rehabilitation center for "medically fragile children" has left six youngsters dead and 12 others sick, the state Health Department said today. On Sunday, they said they found "minor hand washing deficiencies".

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

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Adenoviruses are the cause of everyday infections like the common cold, bronchitis, pink eye and respiratory tract infections, but the highly contagious viruses can be much more risky to people with already compromised immune systems.

As its investigation continues, the Center has been instructed not to admit new patients. 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. Health officials are working with the center on infection control issues.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement Tuesday that state and local health officials are working to contain the outbreak. "Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems".

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Wanaque Center is a pediatric and adult short- and long-term care facility.

"The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe", health officials said.

A scientific paper cited by the CDC reported that a 1998 outbreak of type 7 adenovirus at a pediatric chronic-care facility in Chicago claimed the lives of eight patients. Those with weakened immune systems may also carry and transmit the virus after they have recovered from an illness, the CDC says.

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What's known about Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation?

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