New Jersey health committee hold public hearing on deadly viral outbreak

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, December 3, 2018
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Toni Yates reports on a healthcare facility where 11 children have died from a viral outbreak

WANAQUE, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey state senators questioned the leadership of a healthcare facility where 11 children have died from a viral outbreak.

Members of the state senate health committee held a public hearing on the adenovirus outbreak Monday afternoon.

Officials say 34 vulnerable patients were infected at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, and 11 of those patients died from the illness.

Lawmakers wanted to know how it happened and what's being done to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Family members of the victims were present at the hearing, many holding pictures of the children. A lawyer representing six of the families spoke on their behalf.

"Unfortunately, trust these parents offered to the Wanaque Center was violated, and they and their children have suffered the consequences," attorney Paul DaCosta said.

WATCH the complete hearing

The committee also addressed an outbreak of a different strain of the virus at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility.

State health officials have so far confirmed that 48 children and one staff member at both facilities have contracted the virus.

"This is an extremely severe strain of adenovirus that couldn't have occurred in a worse place, given the medically fragile patients that live at the Wanaque facility," said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

Symptoms of adenovirus usually include sore throats, pneumonia, diarrhea and pink eye.

In the wake of the outbreak, health officials have halted new admissions to the facility until further notice.


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