Very sad news coming out of New Jersey as nine children have reportedly died due to a respiratory virus outbreak from a nursing home, according to health department officials from the state.
The most recent victim passed away late on Saturday evening at a hospital and was said to be ‘medically fragile with respiratory illness’. The health department is currently waiting for lab confirmation of the adenovirus in another child who passed away on Friday. Another eight kids have passed away, linked to this illness.
CNN reported that there have been 25 confirmed adenovirus cases at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, which include the eight children who have passed. The cases were brought forward from September 26 to October 22. A member of the staff was also sick; however, according to the state health department they have since recovered.
The facility is under orders to not admit new patients until this outbreak is over.
The timing of deaths is uncertain at this point. The state health department was told about the virus at the facility on October 9, and Wanaque delivered letters about the infection to parents of children on October 19. On Tuesday October 23, New Jersey’s Department of Health announced that six children at the facility had died, and 12 other residents were infected; the next day, another announcement went out about a pediatric patient passing away.
The department has stated that the facility is under an active outbreak investigation and laboratory tests might provide insight on additional cases. The team did find minor handwashing deficits this past weekend.
The kids ages have not been revealed to help around patient privacy protection; however, a spokesperson from the health department did relay that the ages range from toddler to young adult, with most being under the age of 18.
The illness outbreak, which is due to adenovirus type 7, is affecting those medically fragile kids that have tremendously compromised immune systems. The strain has been linked to illness in communal living environments, which can make it more severe. The facility has stated that it notified all needed government agencies promptly when the virus was identified. They are also diligently following prevention and infection control measures to help protect the safety and health of all their residents.
Facility nurses have reported previously around a shortage of supplied and staff, this as per a union statement that represents the nurses. As per the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), this could have led to inadequate infection control.
Meanwhile, Wanaque was given above-average ratings when it came to quality, but below-average rankings for health inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, conducted in August.
In most cases, adenoviruses create flu-like symptoms with a runny nose, cough, and achy feeling; however, they can also cause conjunctivitis, and specifically in kids, diarrhea. When it comes to uncommon cases within those who have weakened immune systems, this condition can cause inflammation of the brain or pneumonia, and in rarer cases, the infection can also be fatal.
Still, most adenoviruses aren’t typically that serious, last about ten days, and are bearable with over-the-counter medications.