9th death reported at pediatric center amid viral outbreak

Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

A ninth child has died in an adenovirus outbreak at a New Jersey rehabilitation center, state health officials said Sunday.

While workers with the Department of Health Communicable Disease Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working on stopping the outbreak, no new residents will be admitted to the Wanaque Center. The department can not confirm that the death of an individual who died Friday afternoon was related to the outbreak, officials said. A staff member at the facility also became ill, but has since recovered.

The child, whose name has not been released, died late Saturday night at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey.

"This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now", Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said.

Health officials found minor hand-washing deficiencies at the facility during visits last week, and have been working with the center on infection-control issues, the health department said. But officials say this outbreak is particularly severe because it's affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems. The facility has been told it can't admit any new patients until the outbreak ends. It said it did not have laboratory confirmation of adenovirus in the child. The most recent outbreak of the illness at the facility, about 32 miles (50 km) northwest of New York City, was October 22.

Adenovirus usually poses little risk for healthy people. "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe", according to the health department. Some strains also cause diarrhea and pinkeye. That said, investigations on the outbreak are ongoing, and so are the measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The bacterium can cause pneumonia or serious blood or wound infections.

Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner said Thursday the person had already been ill so the diagnosis does not necessarily mean the virus is still spreading. The CDC is also investigating the outbreak.

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