Outbreak strikes a 3rd health facility in NJ this month
VOORHEES — State health authorities are investigating a viral outbreak that has sickened four patients at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility.
This is the second viral outbreak at a pediatric facility in the state and third outbreak altogether this month including the bacterial infections that spread among young patients and killed a premature baby at University Hospital in Newark.
The adenovirus outbreak in Voorhees is not as series as the adenovirus 7 outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehab, which infected at least 26 and has killed 10 pediatric patients. The latest death at Wanaque was announced Wednesday.
The illnesses have prompted state health officials to schedule special visits of pediatric facilities and hospitals.
Camden County officials said Wednesday that the facility first notified the state about an infected patient on Oct. 26.
“The Camden County Health Department has inspected the Voorhees Pediatric Facility twice since being notified to ensure that all protocols prescribed by the state are being followed,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said Wednesday.
Two inspectors with the state Department of Health's Division of Health Facility Survey and Field Operations visited on Oct. 30 and found no infection control problems.
The facility stopped accepting new patients on Oct. 29 but is accepting previously released patients.
"The facility has the capacity to safely and swiftly separate sick, exposed and well individuals into separate areas," the county said in a written statement. "They implemented infection control measures such as cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces, and reinforcing appropriate handwashing techniques. The facility is also providing daily updates to public health officials regarding illnesses in the facility."
State Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said the Voorhees patients "do not have the severity of illnesses" as the patients in Wanaque.
Adenovirus is a respiratory virus that often causes mild illness. Symptoms include common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye, fever, bladder inflammation or infection, inflammation of the stomach and intestines and neurological disease.
Because adenovirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days, the stat will not consider the outbreaks over until four weeks after the last person gets sick. Facilities will not admit new patients during the outbreak.
The facility will not admit new residents for the duration of the outbreak.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.