Seven children have been confirmed dead after contracting “Adenovirus,” a viral infection that can cause wide-ranging symptoms including common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia and diarrhea. The outbreak occurred at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in New Jersey, and has resulted in seven fatalities and an additional 11 children becoming infected.
In an earlier statement, New Jersey’s Department of Health noted that inspectors found “minor handwashing deficiencies” at the facility and that the department is “continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues.” The authority noted that Adenovirus is often associated with causing mild illness, but that this outbreak was proving much more severe than is common due to the sickly nature of many children being treated at the facility.
According to The Wanaque Center’s website, the facility is “a professional nursing home, rehabilitation center and pediatrics center which offers short and long term care in a secure and caring environment.”
The pediatrics center where viral outbreak occurred cares for “medically fragile” children “from newborn to twenty two years of age,” according to the facility’s webpage.
We learned last night that unfortunately another child who was hospitalized due to #adenovirus passed away yesterday. The young child’s death was the 7th death associated with the outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
More info: https://t.co/GPOIVOktxC
— NJDOH (@NJDeptofHealth) October 24, 2018
“Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems,” the statement continued. “The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe.”
In an update posted on Wednesday, the department announced the terrible news that a seventh child had died as a result of contracting the illness.
“The New Jersey Department of Health learned last night that unfortunately another child who was hospitalized due to adenovirus passed away yesterday. The young child’s death was the seventh death associated with the outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. The child’s death is among 18 confirmed cases of adenovirus among medically fragile children at the facility,” the statement read.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ADENOVIRUS?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists the many symptoms that can be caused by this little-known illness:
- Common cold
- Sore throat
- Bronchitis (a condition that occurs when the airways in the lungs become filled with mucus and may spasm, which causes a person to cough and have shortness of breath)
- Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Bladder inflammation or infection
- Inflammation of stomach and intestines
- Neurologic disease (conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord)
The CDC further notes that those “with weakened immune systems, or existing respiratory or cardiac disease, are at higher risk of developing severe illness from an adenovirus infection.” This appears to be the case at the health center in New Jersey, and the results have been devastating.
HOW IS THE VIRUS TRANSMITTED?
Adenovirus is commonly transmitted in areas where people are gathering in close proximity, such as hospitals and schools.
The CDC notes that transmission often occurs through “close personal contact” like “touching or shaking hands.” You can also catch the virus by “touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.” Adenovirus can also spread through water, such as communal swimming pools, though this is much less common.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT INFECTION?
In order to prevent the transmission of Adenovirus, you must ensure good habits of hygiene and cleanliness, such as hand washing and wiping down kitchen surfaces. Obviously, you are also advised to avoid people who are infected with the virus. If you do find that you have symptoms associate with the virus, the CDC recommends you do a few crucial things to stop it from spreading further:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
- Refrain from kissing others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom
The CDC also noted that these particular viruses are “resistant to many common disinfectant products and can remain infectious for long periods on surfaces and objects.” As such, the health agency advises that the right chlorine levels are maintained in swimming pools to avoid exposure to the virus and the potential for catching conjunctivitis.
“It’s a very common virus. All of us have had adenovirus at one time,” Dr. Todd Ellerin, an infectious disease specialist at South Shore Health in Weymouth, Massachusetts told ABC News. “It’s more dangerous in children or adults who are immuno-compromised.”
Please pray for the many children who are still battling to recover from this horrific illness.