An eighth child died as a result of a deadly virus outbreak that has already claimed seven child lives in a long-term pediatric clinic in New Jersey, state officials said Friday.
Name and age of the child was not disclosed. The State Department of Health said it has no confirmation of the adenovirus in the laboratory by the child, but a respiratory disease. Meanwhile, health ministry officials said more children were infected at the outbreak than originally thought, based on new lab results.
There are now 23 confirmed cases of adenovirus in children and adolescents at the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Haskell. When the outbreak was first reported, the number of cases was 1
These figures, however, do not indicate that the virus is spreading and no further deaths have been reported, state officials said.
"Oct was the last date a person fell ill, and the last child fell ill before October 22, which remains the most recent date of onset of illness," said health care spokeswoman Donna Leusner.
"This is important because of the new case. This does not necessarily mean that the disease has spread or worsened," explained Leusner.
Officials said the outbreak remains in active investigation and it is possible that lab tests confirm more cases.
At a press conference earlier this week, Governor Phil Murphy promised he had been "gutted" of the knowledge of lost young lives and promised to find out what had happened.
"We do not have all the answers, but we are working to get them," he said.
Adenovirus is typically a mild disease that mimics flu and cold-like symptoms. However, experts say that some people, especially those with weakened immune systems, may experience more serious complications.
The state said it will make an effort next week to highlight the need for infection control measures in other state institutions to treat immunocompromised children.
"The Department will provide training and education to staff and administrators in similar facilities who care for these medically fragile children to ensure that infection control protocols are adhered to," said Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal. "Pediatric long-term care facilities care for extremely medically sensitive children and therefore need extra attention and support."
The initiative is expected to include an existing team of communicable disease service providers, including epidemiologists and health professionals (19659002) Sources anticipate that the team will also visit the University Hospital in Newark, following reports on Thursday that a state inspection after the death of a premature baby revealed "significant deficiencies in infection control".  The baby was in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital and attacked the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria. The child, who was transferred to another treatment facility, died at the end of September.
The state said it first became aware of the outbreak at the Wanaque Center on 9 October. It was released earlier this week after NJ Advance Media received an anonymized report indicating that the facility had witnessed a series of deaths. Neither the state health department nor the institution would confirm these deaths by Tuesday.
An employee of the State Department of Health for the treatment of infectious diseases is currently on site monitoring the outbreak, officials said. State disease control and prevention centers support laboratory testing and expertise, state officials said.
The facility in northern Passaic County is a 227-bed nursing home, rehabilitation center and pediatrics center offering short-term and long-term care
The facility, approved for 92 pediatric beds, has agreed to take new shots for the duration to stop the outbreak, state officials said. She added that the Wanaque Center has also set up a 24/7 hotline for affected families and also offers professional grieving advice to those affected.
Representatives of the Wanaque Center did not respond to requests for comments.
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