N&N baby unit re-opens after bug

MARK NICHOLLS A neonatal intensive care unit at the region's main hospital which was hit by a superbug outbreak has re-opened.

MARK NICHOLLS

A neonatal intensive care unit at the region's main hospital hit by a superbug outbreak has reopened.

The outbreak of non-MRSA Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) positive S aureus claimed the life of one infant at the unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Screening has confirmed that all but one of the six babies affected are no longer carrying the organism. Last month, seven babies were found to have had the bug - six being carriers. A premature baby boy who died on December 11 was found to have had a PVL infection.

No staff have tested positive but lab tests have confirmed that almost all the babies on the unit and the baby who was discharged last month are no longer carriers of the bacterium after undergoing treatment. The baby who remains positive as a carrier will have a second course of treatment while being cared for in an isolation room.

Consultant microbiologist Dr Judith Richards said: “This cluster of cases was picked up very early by our microbiologists and was contained quickly. We have also contacted all but two of the families who had babies on the unit between 22 November and 19 December. We are confident that this cluster of cases has been successfully limited and the babies affected are now fine . . . Over the coming weeks we will be undertaking a review to see if the precise cause of the outbreak can be identified but . . . there may not be a definitive answer.”