Bacteria identified at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

  • Posted

Posted 02/03/2012

Water testing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has identified higher than normal levels of a bacteria called Pseudomonas. As a precautionary measure the Trust are using sterile water to protect babies in the Unit.Testing has shown that a small number of babies are colonised with Pseudomonas bacteria but none of the babies are showing signs of Pseudomonal infection.The Trusts clinical team has now met with all of the parents on the Neonatal ICU and the Trust spokesman has said that “the safety of the babies in our care and supporting parents and families are our priorities. We would like to emphasise that none of our babies are showing any signs of Pseudomonal infection”.There may be no link between the bacteria in the water and the babies colonised with the bacteria. The Trust are proposing to carry out additional testing and the results will be available shortly.Pseudomonas is a bacteria which is able to grow and survive in water and moist conditions, it can be found on the skin and in the absence of signs of infection, this is known as colonisation which is not in itself harmful. If it is found on the skin and there are no signs of infection treatment is not required.It is possible that babies who are colonised with the Pseudomonas bacteria can get infections and the Trust will then treat with antibiotics. At present not all babies in NICU are being tested for Pseudonomas and this will only happen if they show signs of infection.Tap water is not being used in the unit at present to wash babies or equipment that has contact with babies. Sterile water is being used instead. Tap water is being used to wash hands, with alcohol gel to be used afterwards. The Unit remains open.Julie Crossley, a clinical negligence lawyer at Ashtons Legal comments: “This is a worrying time for new parents with vulnerable and premature babies on the Unit. This is a rare infection but sadly there were cases in Northern Ireland earlier this year of babies contracting the infection and not surviving. The Trust has identified the infection and are carrying out the appropriate steps and closely monitoring the situation”.


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