Viral outbreak kills 6 children at NJ 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 team from the Department of Health is investigating the possible causes of the outbreak.

There have been 18 cases of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of NY, the New Jersey Health Department said in a statement. Those with weakened immune systems may also carry and transmit the virus after they have recovered from an illness, the CDC says.

Officials in New Jersey say the outbreak there is unusually severe because the children at the Wanaque Center have "severely compromised immune systems".

The facility's pediatrics center cares for patients ranging in age from newborn to 22 years of age, according to its website. "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe", the health department said.

What are other risks of adenovirus outbreaks? Adenovirus can be a cause of severe pneumonia, but "often times [doctors] say this person got pneumonia, and they never figure out" what caused it, Adalja said. The CDC is now investigating an uptick in AFM cases, with 62 diagnoses confirmed so far this year in 22 states including New Jersey.

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A rep for the center didn't immediately return a message.

Inspectors from the Department of Health visited the facility on Sunday and found "minor handwashing deficiencies".

A Wanaque Center spokesperson told ABC 7 in a statement that it was cooperating with state investigators to implement infection control.

The state health department is "continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues".

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.

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