Six Children Dead in Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Pediatrics Center

A severe viral outbreak at a New Jersey pediatric facility has left six children dead and 12 others infected, the state’s Department of Health said Tuesday.

The outbreak occurred at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, in northern New Jersey. The center’s website says it treats “medically fragile children” in its pediatrics center.

The cause of the outbreak had not been determined. The health department said it was conducting an investigation at the center and that the facility has been instructed not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends. It was not clear when the children died and there was no information provided on their ages.

Inspectors from the health department arrived at Wanaque Center on Sunday and found “minor handwashing deficiencies,” the department said in a statement.

The outbreak, the agency said, was a particular strain of adenovirus, which often causes mild illness, particularly in young children. But the virus, which the department said was particularly associated with communal living facilities, had severely affected children at the facility who had fragile and compromised immune systems.

“The combination of a worse strain of adenovirus together with a fragile population has led to a more severe outbreak,” the department said.

A voice mail message left for the director of nursing at the Wanaque Center on Tuesday was not immediately returned.