Ninth child dies in New Jersey facility suffering viral outbreak

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The New Jersey Department of Health says the medically fragile child with a respiratory illness died Saturday evening at a hospital.

According to health officials, the child had a confirmed case of adenovirus and became ill before October 22.

An eighth child has died at a New Jersey rehabilitation center where 23 people have been infected in a deadly viral outbreak, state health officials said on Friday.

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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.

"We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility", Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement. The strain of adenovirus in the outbreak is linked to "communal living arrangements" and can be especially risky to people with weakened immune systems. "Often people become ill for many reasons, especially these medically fragile children who had respiratory problems as part of their underlying medical conditions", he said. Many will never walk or talk, and some have spent virtually their whole lives there, according to the paper. A staff member also became ill.

All nine were in the pediatric unit of the Wanaque Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County.

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Adenovirus usually poses little risk for healthy people. During a site visit last week, inspectors identified "hand-washing deficiencies", and state health officials have barred the center from admitting new patients until the outbreak is past.

A health department spokesman said: "The strain of adenovirus seen in this outbreak is associated with communal living arrangements and known to cause severe illness".

The department said it is an active outbreak investigation and lab tests could confirm additional cases. And for most patients, only home remedies and over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms are needed.

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"Am I angry? I think what it is I need to know information, I like facts", Poulous told WABC.