Officials: Viral outbreak leads to deaths of 6 children at NJ facility

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Officials with the New Jersey Department of Health have confirmed that six children have died and 12 others were sickened after an adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.

Adenoviruses typically cause mild illness in young children. But health officials say the No. 7 strain of the virus detected at the facility is “affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems.”

The names and ages of the children were not released. 

Officials say that this strain is typically associated with a disease in communal living spaces.

“You commonly get symptoms like cold symptoms, sore throat,” says CentraState pediatrician Dr. Florence Ibale. “You get bronchitis-like symptoms. In more severe cases, croup or pneumonia.”

Inspectors from the Department of Health visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures. The facility has been instructed not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends.

RELATED: Interview with NJ Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal

The FDA has approved a vaccine for adenovirus strains 4 and 7, but only for use in military personnel who are at higher risk.

“The main thing is to prevent it and to try and prevent the spread of it,” says Ibale.

Some strains of adenovirus can cause more serious issues, can cause bladder or stomach inflammation. Some patients develop neurologic diseases, which can lead to death for patients with compromised immune systems.

There is no specific treatment for adenovirus.

Officials say that they first learned of the outbreak on Oct. 9 and have been in communication with the rehabilitation center ever since.

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