9th death reported at pediatric center amid viral outbreak

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A general look of the marquee outside of the Wanaque Center For Nursing And Rehabilitation, where New Jersey state Health Department confirmed the 18 cases of adenovirus, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Haskell, N.J.

"This latest death was an individual who had a confirmed case of adenovirus and had become ill before October 22", explains health officials. This latest death was a confirmed case of adenovirus, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

A staff member who had fallen ill has since recovered from this strain of adenovirus, but the medically fragile children are the ones most vulnerable to the virus.

The facility is still not admitting any new patients and won't until the outbreak is over.

The timing of the deaths is not clear.

The 227-bed, for-profit facility has a pediatric center and also cares for elderly residents. The seventh death was announced the next day.

The department is continuing to investigate the outbreak.

A team at the facility on Sunday found minor hand-washing deficiencies.

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The children's ages are not being released to protect patient privacy, said Nicole Kirgan, a health department spokeswoman.

Each of those who became ill had "severely compromised immune systems" before they got sick, and ranged in age from toddlers to young adults.

There have been 25 total cases of the virus at the facility.

Rowena Bautista, the administrator of the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, said Thursday in a statement the community "feels a tremendous sense of loss". Based on an inspection conducted in August, CMS reported that "it was determined that the facility failed to provide a clean and homelike physical environment for their residents". Adenovirus 7, in the outbreak is linked with communal living arrangements. Some strains also cause diarrhea and pinkeye.

In rare cases among people with weakened immune systems, the viruses may cause pneumonia or inflammation of the brain and the tissues around it. It said it did not have laboratory confirmation of adenovirus in the child.

Adenovirus is mild and feels like a cold or flu, experts say.

"Facility outbreaks are not always preventable, but in response to what we have seen in Wanaque, we are taking aggressive steps to minimize the chance they occur among the most vulnerable patients in New Jersey", Elnahal said in a statement.

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