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Four other babies died of superbug in last year

A newborn baby died from the pseudomonas superbug at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry in December last year and three more babies succumbed at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Unit in Belfast in January.

In February Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser for England, issued guidance to special care units dealing with the infection.

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Pseudomonas not thought to cause illness in healthy people

The pseudomonas superbug is found widely in soil and stagnant water but does not usually cause illness in healthy people.

Dr Mark Evans, from the Health Protection Agency, said:

Following the discovery of the bacteria, the agency has provided advice and support to North Bristol NHS Trust to help protect the health of babies in the unit.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly found in soil and groundwater and it is a recognised healthcare associated infection that affects people with weakened immune systems.

The people most at risk are those with depleted immune systems such as cancer patients, people with severe burns and premature babies in neonatal units.

– Dr Mark Evans

Twelve babies had pseudomonas bacteria on skin

Dr Chris Burton, medical director of the North Bristol NHS Trust, said other babies at the unit had been tested and 12 were found to have pseudomonas bacteria on the skin.

On its own this does not cause illness or require treatment but presents a risk if bacteria gets into the blood stream.

One baby has had treatment for a minor infection but the others remain well and eight have been discharged home.

Three babies with the bacteria on their skin remain in the unit but are being treated in isolation.

– Dr Chris Burton

The trust said pseudomonas bacteria has been found in the water supply in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Baby dies following bacteria outbreak in neonatal unit

A premature baby has died in hospital following an outbreak of the pseudomonas bacteria, it emerged today.

The baby, who has not been identified, passed away in August at the Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

Dr Chris Burton, medical director of the North Bristol NHS Trust, said:

In August a premature baby sadly died in Southmead Hospital neonatal intensive care unit and pseudomonas infection contributed to the death.

In light of experience in other neonatal ICUs where this has happened North Bristol NHS Trust immediately put in place measures to review infection control procedures in the unit and minimise the risk to other babies.