A seventh child has died at a New Jersey longterm rehab facility where 6 children were killed by an adenovirus outbreak this week.
The New Jersey Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed a seventh child died late Tuesday night. The child's death brings to 18 confirmed cases of children recently infected at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County.
Adenovirus are common viruses that cause mild cold-like symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fever and pink eye. The virus is harmless to most healthy people, but it can be deadly to people with weak immune systems.
The children were all longterm care patients who had been at the facility for most of their lives. Some of the children were comatose and others were unable to speak or walk due to unrelated illnesses.
All of the children had weakened immune systems and were susceptible to infections.
Adenovirus are typically spread through close contact such as handshaking; touching contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs then touching your eyes or nose; or poor hand washing technique.
Germs are typically spread throughout healthcare facilities because healthcare workers don't wash their hands between patients.
Health investigators visited the facility over the weekend as part of their investigation into the deaths.
The Wanaque Center was previously cited for minor hand washing deficiencies, according to the state Department of Health.
The facility has been ordered to stop admitting patients while health officials "provide guidance on infection and cleaning procedures."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement, saying he is "heartbroken by the news that several children have lost their lives."
He added: "I am confident that the steps being taken by state and local officials will minimize the impact to all those who remain at the facility, including patients and employees."
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