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11th ‘severely disabled’ child dies following months-long viral outbreak at rehab center: Officials

An 11th child has died following an adenovirus outbreak at a New Jersey pediatric care facility, officials announced Friday.

Per NJ.com, health officials said an ill child confirmed to have the virus died Thursday evening at a North Jersey hospital. Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal also confirmed that another child was infected, bringing the number of pediatric patients at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation who were exposed to the virus up to 34.

Health officials said the child who died Thursday was one of 34 children at the Haskell facility who fell ill between September 26 and November 12, after being “associated” with the deadly adenovirus, according to NBC News.

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Local newspaper the North Jersey Record described the 11 deceased children as being “severely disabled.”

The CDC says adenoviruses can cause mild to severe illness, though severe cases are less common. People with compromised immune systems and existing respiratory or cardiac disease are at increased risk suffering severe illness from the virus.

In light of the outbreak, health officials said they’re separating “medically fragile children” from other sick children at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. NJ.com noted that the move comes two months after the first child was infected.

“This enforcement action will require the facility to be able to safely separate medically fragile children before they can accept any new admissions to the respiratory unit,” Elnahal said in a statement. “The fact that we are continuing to see new, confirmed cases at this point, despite all efforts toward strict adherence to protocols, has made the facility’s layout limitations clear. This action is required to keep patients safer in the future.”

Health officials mentioned that these “medically fragile children” are ineligible for the vaccine for this strain of the virus.

Speaking with the Record, officials declined to release the names, ages or genders of the deceased or infected children, citing patient privacy.

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[Featured Image: Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation/WNBC video screengrab]