The Wanque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Kevin R. Wexler/

9th Child Dies Amid Viral Outbreak In New Jersey

October 28, 2018 - 11:05 am

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- Another child has died in a viral outbreak at a pediatric rehabilitation center in New Jersey, the state’s Health Department said Sunday.

In a statement, the department said: “Another medically fragile child with respiratory illness at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell unfortunately passed away at a hospital late last night, bringing the total deaths among facility residents to nine.”

The child became ill with the adenovirus before Oct. 22, the department said.

A total of 25 pediatric cases have been associated with the outbreak.

A staff member at the facility also fell ill and has since recovered, health officials said.

Eight of the deaths have been associated with the adenovirus. The Health Department said a child who passed away Friday afternoon hasn’t been confirmed to have had adenovirus.

Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal called it a “tragic situation” and said the department is working “to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed.”  

The most recent cases were diagnosed last Monday, but the cases date back to Sept. 26.

Seven children who died of the virus were all in a respiratory unit where patients receive long-term help with breathing.

Adenovirus is usually pretty mild, but it can pose a threat to people with compromised immune systems.

The health department says the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) seems to be associated with communal living facilities.

A team of health officials has been at the health facility all week monitoring the infection. Some minor hand washing deficiencies were found at the facility over the weekend. Nurses at the center have complained about staffing problems and the facility has been cited in the past for failing to properly supervise patients and disinfect surfaces.

The health commissioner said as far as the source of the virus it can be difficult or impossible to know how it got there.

Meanwhile, admissions at the center have been halted and the outbreak won't be declared over until the center goes four weeks without any new cases.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)