Third baby dies from deadly infection in Belfast hospital
A neonatal room at a hospital in Northern Ireland is being emptied after three babies died from an infection, medical staff said..
A bacteria called pseudomonas caused the deaths at the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast, and other vulnerable babies have been swabbed for signs of it.
The area where they were being treated will undergo deep- cleaning after the remaining three patients have been moved.
A helpline has been established for worried relatives.
The bacteria can cause infections in the chest, blood and urinary tract.
An investigation was launched yesterday when two babies died following the outbreak of the infection at the hospital. A third baby died this morning.
Belfast Health Trust said admission to the neonatal unit at the Royal Hospital is being restricted after the outbreak of pseudomonas.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is bacteria found in soil, water, plants and animals, and is particularly harmful to those who are already ill.
A representative for The Royal said the situation is being kept under constant review.
"Sadly the deaths may be linked to this outbreak. We are supporting these families at this very difficult time. We are in the process of investigating the outbreak and taking all steps to identify the source."
The hospital is asking everyone, including parents and guardians, to be diligent in their hand hygiene when entering and leaving the unit.
Northern Ireland's Health Minister Edwin Poots sent his sympathies to the babies' families.
"This is a serious incident. The priority now is to identify the source of the infection and minimise the risk of spread to other extremely vulnerable babies in the unit," he said.
"I have asked the trust to work with the Public Health Agency to ensure all necessary steps are swiftly taken to identify the source of the infection so that we contain it and reduce the risk of spreading. I have asked the Belfast Trust and the Public Health Agency to keep me fully informed.
"I have also directed the Health and Social Care Board to work with the trust to minimise any potential impact on the availability of neonatal intensive care cots."