WANAQUE — A ninth child has died from adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell with additional cases reported, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

The "medically fragile child" with a respiratory illness passed away late Saturday night as the number of cases associated with the outbreak grows to 25. A staff member became ill, but has since recovered. As with the previous deaths, the child became ill between Sept. 26 and Oct. 22, and was aged somewhere between infant to young adult.

The strain of adenovirus in this outbreak is associated with communal living arrangements and is known to cause severe illness — especially in those with compromised immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also involved with the investigation.

State health officials continued investigating how adenovirus became present and spread at the 227-bed facility.

Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi said she spoke directly with Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal late Friday night. "I have been assured they are doing everything in their power to control the outbreak," she wrote on her Facebook page.

“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now. We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility," Elnahal said in a statement.

Elnahal said the DOH is taking extra steps to monitor residents and staff for any signs of infectious illness.

"Not all viruses are adenovirus. Often people become ill for many reasons, especially these medically fragile children who had respiratory problems as part of their underlying medical conditions,” Elnahal said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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