New Jersey lawmakers look into outbreaks that killed 14 children

Owners of the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will attend a state Senate hearing Dec. 3 to discuss the adenovirus outbreak at the center that killed 11 pediatric patients and sickened more than 30, according to NJ.com.

Mr. Vitale said he will also invite the CEO of Newark, N.J.-based University Hospital to discuss the deaths of three pediatric patients that were attributed to a bacterial infection. He also invited the CEO of Voorhees Township, N.J.-based Voorhees Pediatric Center to discuss 13 patients who contracted a weaker strain of the adenovirus.

"This is an investigative hearing to learn about how in some cases, the system failed to protect these children," Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, Senate Health Committee chairman, told NJ.com. "Was it human or systems errors, or both? How did the facilities respond to the outbreak early on and later? And what can be done to improve quality and infection control measures? These are just some of the questions we will have."

The infection outbreaks at Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and University Hospital in Newark are not connected.

Mr. Vitale scheduled the hearing after receiving reports that Wanaque delayed sending pediatric patients to the hospital after they developed severe fevers. Wanaque employees also questioned why patients with adenovirus were not transported.

Shereef Elnahal, MD, New Jersey health commissioner, is invited to discuss how his team has responded to the outbreak at both facilities.

Thirty-five pediatric patients were exposed to the adenovirus outbreak between Sept. 26 and Nov. 12. Eleven pediatric patients have died at the Wanaque facility and three pediatric patients have died at University Hospital due to a bacterial infection. No one has died at the Voorhees facility.

More articles on clincail leadership and infection control:

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