Medical Center Virus Outbreak Leaves 6 Children Dead and 12 Fighting Illness
Six youngsters have died and 12 others are battling illness after a major virus outbreak at a specialist health facility in New Jersey. In total 18 children with weakened immune systems have been struck by a life-threatening adenovirus at the Haskell-based Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. An investigation has been launched into the viral outbreak deaths. Inspectors from the New Jersey Health Department visited the private facility on Sunday, Oct. 21, and raised concerns over “minor handwashing deficiencies” at the health center, according to a statement from officials.
The New Jersey Health Department was originally informed of a respiratory illness issue at the center on Oct. 9, but the exact timeline of events – from the outbreak and inspection to the tragic deaths – is not yet known. Officials have ordered the facility not to accept new patients while the outbreak is contained, while an official investigation is now underway. The 18 affected children were patients at the Wanaque Center’s specialist pediatrics center. Their identities and ages have not been released.
Understanding the Infection
The immune system is the body’s defense against viral infections and diseases. The children at the Wanaque Center were all immunocompromised, meaning that they had weakened immune systems due to existing conditions. When a person has a compromised immune system, even minor infections can be deadly. Their care should involve strict practices which prevent those who are immunocompromised from being exposed to infectious agents. These might include care staff wearing masks and gloves, as well as rigorous and regular hand-washing.
The outbreak at the New Jersey center involved an adenovirus – a group of common viral strains which can target the lungs, nervous system, intestines, eyes, and urinary tract. It is believed that this outbreak involved an adenovirus type 7 – a respiratory disease. They can be extremely contagious, especially in communal locations.
The cause of the viral outbreak and the potential presence of any negligence on the part of the health center are not yet known in this case. The results of the health department inspection will reveal more details on the case. However, in general terms, medical facilities have a duty of care over their patients. Any health center caring for immunocompromised must observe strict protocols in place, due to the extreme levels of risk involved for the patients, and the hand washing deficiency findings are deeply concerning.
If you or a loved one have suffered at the hands of sub-standard or negligent care, we can help. When liability is an issue, an experienced premises lawyer from Bisnar Chase will be able to help victims and their families explore their legal options and seek compensation for their losses.