Training teams sent to centers amid deadly viral outbreaks

Pearl Mccarthy
October 31, 2018

On Oct. 27, the New Jersey Department of Health announced the eight death associated with the ongoing adenovirus outbreak at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey, though authorities are still waiting for the laboratory results to confirm whether adenovirus was or was not present in the child who recently passed away. A staff member at the facility also became ill, but has since recovered.

Her mother says she was not made aware of the outbreak until Monday, the day before her daughter died and nearly three weeks after she was admitted to St. Joseph's Medical Center, reports. "But they can also cause conjunctivitis and, particularly in children, diarrhea".

"Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems", Kirgan said.

The for-profit facility has a pediatric centre and also cares for elderly residents.

The department said the exact cause of death is under investigation.

He added: "The department continues to work very closely with the facility to ensure that all infection control measures are being followed".

The Department of Health's Communicable Disease service remains on site to monitor the outbreak.

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In a statement, the facility said it "promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified".

This 1981 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a group of adenovirus virions. "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe".

In rare cases among people with weakened immune systems, the viruses may cause pneumonia or inflammation of the brain and the tissues around it.

Twenty-five pediatric cases of adenovirus have been connected to the outbreak at this facility, officials said.

"Facility outbreaks are not always preventable, but in response to what we have seen in Wanaque, we are taking aggressive steps to minimize the chance they occur among the most vulnerable patients in New Jersey", Elnahal said in a statement.

"People know patients are being held prisoner, but they probably think they have bigger battles in public health to fight, so they just have to let this go", Sophie Harman, a global health expert at Queen Mary University of London, said.

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