Officials confirm ninth child has died from a deadly respiratory virus
Health officials have confirmed that a ninth child has now died from a deadly virus outbreak in New Jersey that originated in a Passaic County healthcare facility.
The total number of people confirmed to have been infected in a viral outbreak at a Wanaque long-term care center had increased to 26 on Saturday, according to a statement from the New Jersey Health Department.
On Sunday, New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal announced on Twitter that another child has died from a respiratory virus, taking the total number of children to have been killed in the outbreak to nine, so far.
“Deeply saddened to report a 9th death from the Wanaque outbreak. This child was among the cases we were tracking,” Elnahal tweeted.
“Still no new cases since 10/22.”
“@NJDeptofHealth remains on site until the end of the outbreak tracking cases and infection control,” the tweet said.
Deeply saddened to report a 9th death from the Wanaque outbreak. This child was among the cases we were tracking.
— Shereef Elnahal, MD (@ShereefElnahal) October 28, 2018
The “medically fragile” unnamed child died overnight at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, just two days after the facility announced the death of an eighth child.
The facility has now confirmed that 25 patients have been affected by adenovirus — a respiratory virus that causes flu- or cold-like symptoms, but can be far more harmful to those who have compromised immune systems.
According to Breitbart, the state has reported that health officials first became aware of the outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey, on October 9.
“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement released on Sunday.
“We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility.”
NJ.com reported that this week Gov. Phil Murphy held a press conference where he said he has been “gutted” by the knowledge of children dying and pledged to find out what happened.
“We don’t have all the answers, but we’re working to get them,” Murphy said.
This month, NJ.com reported that in the center’s most recent health inspection report, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave the facility a “below average” score, and the 2017 report also said the facility “failed to ensure infection control practices were followed.”
In the same report, the New Jersey spokeswoman Nicole Kirgan said children are particularly at risk with this virus.
“Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems,” Kirgan said.
“The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe.”
Health officials have been unusually secretive about the outbreak, giving out little information about the deaths, such as if they occurred at the center or at a hospital.
They would not say when the first six deaths occurred, only that the children died in October.
They have not disclosed the ages of the children who have died, saying only that they ranged in age from “toddlers through young adult.”
In a news conference held last Wednesday outside the facility, Elnahal said it may be “impossible or difficult to know” how the virus is spreading.