Seventh baby has Belfast hospital killer bug
Another case of pseudo-monas, the infection which has killed three babies in a Belfast hospital, was confirmed yesterday.
The baby, who continues to be treated, brings the total number of cases to seven.
Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots yesterday revealed that the infection had been traced to taps in the neo-natal unit at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital .
All the taps and connected pipe work in the room are to be removed as experts try to eradicate all traces of the pseudomonas bacteria, Mr Poots told the Stormont Assembly.
"I can report that investigations so far have shown that pseudomonas bacteria have been found in a number of taps in the intensive care area of the neo-natal unit," Mr Poots said.
"The (Belfast) Trust Health Estates team are in the process of removing and replacing all taps and related pipework in the affected area. There is no evidence of pseudomonas in the water system. This indicates that it is likely to be a localised problem."
An outbreak of a different strain of pseudomonas in Derry's Altnagelvin Hospital last month, which claimed the life of one baby, was also linked to the water system in its neo-natal facilities.
Mr Poots said special ultraviolet technology may be installed in the region's hospitals in a bid to prevent further outbreaks. He also revealed the incident in Altnagelvin prompted health chiefs to write to all trusts in Northern Ireland reminding them of the infection risks posed by water systems.
Pseudomonas can cause infections in the chest, blood and urinary tract. The neo-natal unit at the Royal Jubilee, which was emptied in the wake of the outbreak, has undergone a deep clean.
Of three other babies believed to have contracted the infection at the Royal Jubilee, two have recovered and continue to receive neonatal care while the third initially recovered but subsequently died of unrelated causes.