Belfast Telegraph

Babies die in hospital bug outbreak

Two babies have died at the Royal Hospital after an outbreak of an infection, Belfast Health Trust said.

The bacteria pseudomonas can be particularly harmful to infants who are already ill, a spokesman for the organisation added.

Admission to the neonatal unit is being restricted.

The Royal representative said: "Sadly two ill babies have died whose 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."

To help prevent the spread of this infection, everyone, including parents and guardians, are being asked to be diligent in their hand hygiene when entering and leaving the unit.

The situation will be kept under constant review.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "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.

"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."

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