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Cochran Firm Blog, Philadelphia

Adenovirus Outbreak Claims 10 Lives

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As of November 1st, New Jersey health officials have confirmed 10 youth deaths as part of a viral outbreak, known as the adenovirus, at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, New Jersey. The outbreak has been traced back to early October, although publicly the outbreak was revealed later. Spread through touching a contaminated person or surface, or through the air by coughing or sneezing, the virus is very contagious, but it rarely causes severe illness in healthy people. Generally, symptoms last around 10 days and can be cured with home remedies and over-the-counter medicines. However, all ten patients who later died from the virus had already weakened immune systems along with respiratory illnesses. This situation highlights the importance of care against medical diagnostic error, especially when figuring out how serious an infection is in people who already have health problems.

Inspectors have reportedly found “minor hand washing deficiencies” during visits to the Wanaque center, as well as minor lapses in sanitary practices.  The facility has been instructed to not admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and the health department is continuing to work closely with the facility on infection control issues. The outbreak will not be declared over until the facility can go four weeks without any new cases of patients being infected.

Wanaque Center administrator Rowena Bautista issued the following statement:

“The Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation has recently experienced some cases of the Adenovirus in its pediatric unit. The facility promptly notified all appropriate government agencies when the virus was initially identified, including the New Jersey Department of Health, The Passaic County Department of Health, The Communicable Disease Service and the Centers for Disease Control. The Wanaque Center continues to fully cooperate with these agencies and has sought out their medical guidance with respect to the virus. As a result, facility staff have diligently implemented all available infection control and prevention measures in order to protect the health and safety of the Wanaque Center’s residents.”

What can you do to protect and prevents viruses like the adenovirus?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

The very institutions set up to heal us have taken lives. Contact the experienced lawyers at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia if you or a loved one has been affected by this deadly outbreak or one similar to it.