The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed that a total of 18 children with compromised immune systems were infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.
Inspectors from the Department of Health have visited the center and are providing infection control and cleaning procedures. An investigation is ongoing, but the center has agreed not to admit new patients until the outbreak is deemed over.
Adenoviruses often cause mild illness, particularly in young children, but people with weakened immune systems are at risk of getting severely sick, according to the CDC.
The facility notified the state's health department of respiratory illnesses October 9. "I have been briefed by [Commissioner of Health] Dr. Elnahal, who has assured me that the Department of Health has recommended vital measures to enhance protections against the further spread of infection and will continue its active on-site surveillance".
A team from the health department were on hand at the center Tuesday to investigate.
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They are the cause of several infections including the common cold, respiratory tract infections, pink eye, diarrhea, bronchiolitis and pneumonia. "The strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be severe".
The Wanaque Center says on its website that it is a for-profit facility that works with "with medically fragile children" from newborn to 22 years old.
After experiencing cases of adenovirus in its pediatric unit, the center notified government health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is fully cooperating with them and has sought out their guidance, the Wanaque center said in a statement emailed by Rowena Bautista, administrator of the center.
Local news site NewJersey.com reported that a letter had been sent to parents of patients about an outbreak on 18 Oct, but officials did not confirm any details about the virus until Tuesday.