New Jersey officials announced on Friday that an 11th child has died and another 23 children have become stricken with adenovirus at a New Jersey center for severely disabled children.
State officials have been forced to admit they are struggling to contain the outbreak at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Pediatric Center, in Haskell, New Jersey.
Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, told CNN on Friday that the inability to separate those who are sick from those without symptoms has led to the outbreak.
‘Up until this week, it has not been possible to completely separate those patients,’ Elnahal said.
‘But now, due to decreasing census at the facility, it is.’
The state put out a call for volunteers from New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps to help separate patients at the facility.
The lethal outbreak at the Wanaque Center began in late September, spreading among children with weakened immune systems.
An investigation of Wanaque indicated that the staff’s poor hand washing practices might be fueling the viral spread.
The most recent outbreak at Voorhees Pediatric Facility, where five cases of a weaker strand of adenovirus have been reported, is also affecting immunocompromised children, and milder cases of the virus among the general public may be more common this season due to the warmer, wetter autumn.
Adenovirus is, typically, a mild bug that causes the common cold.
The virus infects the respiratory system, causing a sore throat, chest and throat congestion, coughing, pink eye and fever.
But the virus acts very similarly to the flu, and is often mistaken for it.
In fact, adenovirus can feel even worse than the flu.
Like most bugs, it has many different strains with different strengths.
The type striking the Wanaque Center in New Jersey is adenovirus seven.
It is most often seen in communal living settings, like Wanaque and Voorhees, thriving and spreading where people touch each others things and are breathing, coughing and sneezing in close quarters.
This strain in particular is known to prove deadly in some cases.
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SOURCE: DailyMail, by ARIEL ZILBER and NATALIE RAHHAL