Belfast Telegraph

Babies' bug outbreak deaths probed

The deaths of four babies during a pseudomonas outbreak are under preliminary investigation by police.

The infants died from the bacterial infection at two hospitals in December 2011 and January 2012.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokeswoman said two families had complained to police and all those affected had been informed.

"We are conducting a preliminary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four babies from two Northern Ireland hospitals in December 2011 and January 2012," she said.

Caolan Burke was born at Altnagelvin Hospital in County Londonderry in December 2011 but died there ten days later after contracting pseudomonas.

The following month, three more babies died from the infection at Belfast's Royal Jubilee Maternity Unit.

Last year, the deaths were investigated by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). The RQIA linked the bug to water from contaminated taps in hospital neonatal units.

Its independent review also criticised a lack of communication between health officials and said some of the deaths may have been prevented if Belfast Health Trust had acted sooner.

Pseudomonas is a bacteria found widely in soil and stagnant water. It does not usually cause illness in healthy people.

It can cause serious harm to vulnerable hospital patients with weakened immune systems, like premature babies.

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