As 18 babies have been struck down with blood poisoning after contracting an infection from a suspected contaminated drip, here is what the intravenous fluid is thought to have been contaminated with:
- Bacillus cereus is a bacterium found in dust, soil and vegetation.
- It produces very hardy spores which in the right conditions can grow and create a toxin which causes illness.
- It is likely to be on most surfaces.
- These toxins can cause two types of illness: one type characterised by diarrhoea, and the other, by nausea and vomiting.
- The duration of the illness can last about a day.
- The symptoms can begin to show after six hours.
Questions have been raised over how a batch of intravenous fluid could potentially have become contaminated, after the death of one baby.
The suspected contaminated batch of a food supplement linked to the blood poisoning of 17 babies, was sent to 22 hospitals.