Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Six children dead in virus outbreak at United States health centre

Six children dead in virus outbreak at United States health centre

An investigation is ongoing, but the center has agreed not to admit new patients until the outbreak is deemed over.

Six young patients died and 12 others became sick following an outbreak of adenovirus at a rehabilitation center in Haskell, New Jersey, the state's Health Department said on Tuesday.

Health department officials were at the center on Tuesday and also on Sunday and found minor hand-washing deficiencies, the department said. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak".

Adenoviruses are the cause of everyday infections like the common cold, bronchitis, pink eye and respiratory tract infections, but the highly contagious viruses can be much more unsafe to people with already compromised immune systems.

More information about adenovirus is available on Health Canada's website.

Adenoviruses usually cause mild illnesses but this outbreak affected medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems.

The facility houses an adult nursing home, a rehabilitation center and a pediatrics unit.

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

The facility promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified, including the New Jersey Department of Health, The Passaic County Department of Health, The Communicable Disease Service and the Centers for Disease Control.

The Health Department didn't release the ages of the victims or address the severity of the illness in the other dozen cases.

Those who have weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of developing a severe illness or neurological diseases from an adenovirus infection.

New patients are being barred from going to the facility until the outbreak is over.

Inspectors from the Department of Health have visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures.

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