What to Know
- One year after one of New Jersey's deadliest viral outbreaks, residents still have questions
- NorthJersey.com sayshealth officials have been fighting release of documents that could explain government response to the Wanaque outbreak
- The outbreak claimed the lives of 11 children and sickened more than 30 others
One year after one of New Jersey's deadliest viral outbreaks, residents still have questions when it comes to understanding how it claimed the lives of 11 children.
NorthJersey.com says state health officials have spent almost a year fighting the release of documents that could explain government response to the Wanaque outbreak inside a long-term care facility with medically fragile patients. The newspaper sued the health department last December after it refused to provide access to documents.
NorthJersey.com reports the department has slowly released 1,400 pages of documents over the last year that they say are either "irrelevant" or contain so many redactions that it is impossible to determine what the government was doing during the height of the crisis.
The newspaper's attorney says all records should be released with minimum redactions as the outbreak was a significant public health issue. Health department lawyers say redactions were made to protect patient privacy.
The adenovirus outbreak not only claimed the lives of nearly a dozen children at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Passaic County, but over 30 were also sickened.
Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The viruses cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea and pink eye. Adenoviruses can pose serious complications to certain people, particularly those with weakened immune systems, respiratory issues and cardiac disease.
According to the CDC, adenoviruses are typically spread from an infected person to others through close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands; through the air by coughing and sneezing; or by touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.