Seven children dead in viral outbreak


(NBC News) – A seventh child has died at a New Jersey long-term medical care facility following a severe viral outbreak at the center.

“Adenovirus 7” is common and usually mild in healthy people, but the children at the Wanaque Center for Nursing And Rehabilitation all had fragile immune systems, increasing their risk for complications.

In all about 18 kids at the center were affected, including Paula Costigan’s 14-year-old son.

“This is the sickest he’s ever been,” she says.

The New Jersey Health Department says it found minor hand washing deficiencies at the facility during a recent inspection.

“You had a group of children who were probably already immunocompromised, they’re medically fragile. They’re in a facility and if you’re not doing good hand washing and good hygiene, it’s going to spread from patient to patient,” says Dr. Lolita McDavid of the UH Cleveland Medical Center.

In a statement, the Wanaque Center says it “promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified” and “continues to fully cooperate with these agencies and has sought out their medical guidance.”

The center is not accepting new patients until the outbreak is under control. 

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