6 children dead from adenovirus outbreak in New Jersey

Adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness

Officials say 18 cases of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County was confirmed.

The facility is not admitting any new patients until the outbreak ends, the statement said.

The strain afflicting the children is usually associated with acute respiratory illness, according to the CDC, which on its website instructs health workers to report unusual clusters to state or local health departments. The health department says "minor handwashing deficiencies" were found at the facility on Sunday.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, who is not involved in the outbreak investigation, agreed that the deaths in this outbreak may be partially explained by the fact that the children had underlying medical conditions that predisposed them to severe infection.

Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses, including common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, bladder infection, inflammation of the stomach or neurologic diseases. "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe".

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While most people recover from salmonellosis without treatment, some people can be hospitalized due to severe diarrhea. Listeriosis can cause diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

The Health Department didn't release the ages of the victims or address the severity of the illness in the other dozen cases. Health officials are working with the center on infection control issues. "The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak".

The outbreak occurred at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, in northern New Jersey.

Wanaque is a residential facility that cares for "medically fragile" newborns, children and young adults, as well as elderly individuals and those requiring rehabilitation.

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

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

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