Further test results on Pseudomonas at Norwich neonatal unit

Three babies in a Norwich neonatal unit which were found to have Pseudomonas bacteria on their skin did not catch the bacteria from each other, tests have revealed.

Further testing carried out in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has identified that each of the three babies has a different strain of the bacteria, which shows there has been no cross-infection between the babies.

Pseudomonas can be found in soil, sinks and taps, and does not usually cause illness in healthy people, but small and premature babies can be more susceptible.

While the three babies have the bacteria on their skin it is not causing an active infection, which is when it can become potentially lethal.

Recent Pseudomonas outbreaks in Northern Ireland led to the deaths of four babies, and as a precaution the N&N decided to conduct tests of the water supply in its neonatal unit.


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The results revealed that higher than normal levels of the bacteria were identified. Further tests are also being carried out in an attempt to find out if there is a link between the strains of bacteria found on the babies to the bacteria found in the water supply, but these results are not yet available.

Hospital chief executive Anna Dugdale said: 'This confirms that there has been no cross-infection between these babies which gives us assurance that our infection control processes on NICU are working well. No baby has become unwell as a result of the Pseudomonas we have found.

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'The team in NICU has spoken again individually with parents who have babies in the unit to update them on the test results to date.

'As a precaution we have replaced the flexible hoses in all the basins from which the affected samples were taken.

'For the time being we will continue to use sterile water until the testing process has restored our confidence in the water quality.'

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