Eleven children have now died from an adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in northern New Jersey. State officials on Wednesday ordered all admissions to cease at the center, where a total of 34 cases have been confirmed. Adenoviruses are a group of common viruses that can infect the airways and lungs, but can be serious in people with weak immune systems or children. The Health Department found “egregious deficient practices in infection prevention and control which pose an immediate jeopardy ... to residents,” Gene Rosenblum, the director of the Health Department’s office of program compliance, wrote in a letter to the center’s administrator on Wednesday. Additional cases continue to be identified despite the presence of a communicable disease specialist from the state Health Department at the center since Oct. 10. There are currently 43 children in the first-floor ventilator unit where the virus spread.
The center has received the worst possible rating—“immediate jeopardy”—from state inspectors. That rating can disqualify the center from receiving Medicaid and Medicare patients if deficiencies are not corrected. The two government programs provide the bulk of nursing and rehabilitation funding.