WANAQUE — The state Department of Health confirmed that six children have died from an adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

There were a total of 18 child patients who got sick at the Passaic County facility, according to the DOH, which said they were notified of respiratory illness at the center on Oct. 9. The DOH did not disclose the ages of any of those affected or when the patients died.

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that often cause mild illness especially in young children. The outbreak of advenovirus 7 is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems. The strain at the center has been particularly associated with disease in communal living arrangements and can be more severe.

The Wanaque Center describes itself as a professional nursing home, rehabilitation center and pediatrics center with both short and long-term residents.

The Department of Health said an inspection team on Sunday found found minor hand-washing deficiencies. Health officials continued to work with the center on infection control issues.

The facility was ordered not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday said he was "heartbroken by the news" and that health officials briefed him on the measures being taken to contain the infection.

"I am confident that the steps being taken by state and local officials will minimize the impact to all those who remain at the facility, including patients and employees," Murphy said in a written statement.

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

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