Rare infection outbreak at Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast
An infection has broken out in the intensive care unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Four patients at Northern Ireland's biggest hospital have been tested for the rare infection called Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria.
It is a bug is a risk to very ill people and is resistant to several drugs.
It is understood the infected patients are currently in isolation within the intensive care unit.
The outbreak was discovered three weeks ago and control measures have been put in place.
In a statement the Belfast Trust said the unit was undergoing an "intensive deep clean process".
It said: "Belfast Health and Social Care Trust have recently identified an unusual multi-resistant microorganism called Acinetobacter Baumanii in the Regional Intensive Care Unit (RICU). A small number of patients have tested positive for this infection related to this organism and are currently isolated.
"An outbreak has been declared and the unit has been undergoing an intensive deep clean process over the weekend in line with patient safety and clinical advice and all infection control procedures are being regularly monitored.
"All patients remaining in the unit are being monitored in accordance with national guidelines.
"The Trust would like to assure the public that robust infection prevention and control measures are in place and we are working closely with the Public Health Agency and all other Trusts to control the spread of this organism.
"We would ask that visitors help us to prevent the spread of infection by being diligent regarding hand washing both on entering and leaving the unit.
"We are extremely grateful for the flexibility shown by our patients, their relatives and our staff to support our programme of deep cleaning over the weekend."
What is Multi-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB)?
MRAB are germs that live in soil, water, the general environment and on skin.
In most people, MRAB germs are harmless and do not cause infection.
However, if a patient is prone to infection and the infection is caused by MRAB, it can be difficult to treat.
Can MRAB be harmful?
For most patients, MRAB lives harmlessly in the bowel and on the skin not causing infection. Sometimes MRAB can cause infection in patients, for example when they need intensive care or while receiving chemotherapy.
Doctors need to know as soon as possible if a patient is carrying MRAB so that the most effective antibiotics can be chosen to treat the infection.
Source - Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Multi-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Screening Leaflet November 2014
Belfast Telegraph Digital