Seven children have died after being exposed to adenovirus at a New Jersey rehabilitation center for medically fragile children. The source of the virus is still being investigated as health officials and the facility scramble to prevent even more deaths. The facility has also been ordered not to admit new patients until the investigation is complete and the outbreak is contained.
Adenovirus is common in dorms, summer camps, and other living environments where many people share showers and bathrooms. Outbreaks such as this are much less common in hospitals and other medical settings, as proper disinfection protocols should limit or even eliminate the risk of mass exposure.
Though the likelihood of death from adenovirus is usually very small, the medically fragile must be protected from exposure. In this instance it is medically fragile children who are dying from the disease, but adults are also at risk. Examples of medically fragile adults include post-operative patients, patients in Intensive Care Units, and the elderly, as well as those who are immuno-suppressed.
Proper containment is key whenever working with these populations, but in many cases existing protocols are both insufficient and insufficiently enforced to protect patients. Medical staff may fail to follow proper handwashing procedures, or isolation rooms might not be employed properly. Hospitals and recovery facilities have access to the necessary patient information to know who is particularly at risk.
If someone you love has suffered and become ill due to exposure to a dangerous infection at a medical facility, please consider contacting an experienced attorney. These facilities must be held accountable for failure to properly quarantine patients and control the spread of dangerous diseases.