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23 newborns survive superbug at hospital

ALL 23 babies who tested positive for the MRSA superbug at a hospital maternity unit have been released.

THE superbug cluster was discovered at Mayo General Hospital in March of this year.

Since then 23 newborns have tested positive for the superbug on their skin.

However, none of the newborns affected have become ill as a result of the bacteria and health authorities were under no obligation to inform the statutory body which records cases of all communicable diseases.

The HSE confirmed that it had not alerted the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) to the cases because they related to colonisation and not full infection.

A HSE spokesperson said there was no requirement for the hospital to inform the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) of cases of MRSA colonisation.







Bacteria

The infants tested positively for MRSA on their skin, which is known as colonisation.

The bacteria would only become life-threatening if it entered the child's blood stream through a cut or open wound.

However, the number of babies affected is well above normal levels and is being considered a "cluster" by health authorities. Officials are now trying to discover the cause of the upsurge in cases.

The outbreak is only being revealed as authorities introduce stricter visiting rules for its maternity ward.

The HSE has stressed that the cases to date relate to colonisation only, saying no baby has become ill due to MRSA.

It also added that there are no current cases of babies with MRSA colonisation in the unit.

Babies that have tested positive for the bug are being cared for in a separate room away from the other newborns.

The hospital is also taking other precautions to reduce the risk of the bacteria spreading to other babies including using special washes and creams.

Stricter visiting rules have also been introduced for the hospital's maternity ward.

hnews@herald.ie


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