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Deadly bacteria that have infected eight newborn babies are spreading to ANOTHER hospital

Deadly bacteria that infected eight newborn babies are spreading to ANOTHER hospital – while officials are trying to stop the outbreak

  • Eight babies at Flinders Medical Center have contracted the deadly infection
  • It has now infected another baby in the special care unit of another hospital
  • Health officials are investigating how the rare bacteria spread between hospitals

A baby in a second hospital in Adelaide tested positive for a rare and deadly bacterial infection after eight babies were infected earlier this week.

Serratia marcescens, which can lead to pneumonia and sepsis, has not been seen in a hospital in the city for 20 years.

But the infection has now been confirmed in a baby at the women’s and children’s hospital, requiring all babies to be tested in the special care unit.

The baby is in a stable condition.

At least eight babies in the neonatal ward of the Flinders Medical Center in Adelaide have also tested positive for the rare infection.

A deadly bacterium has now been found in babies in two Adelaide hospitals (photo, Flinders Medical Center's neonatal ward)

A deadly bacterium has now been found in babies in two Adelaide hospitals (photo, Flinders Medical Center’s neonatal ward)

Eight infants tested positive for the bacterial infection in Flinders Medical Center (photo, a baby in the neonatal ward in the hospital) that has now spread further

Eight infants tested positive for the bacterial infection in Flinders Medical Center (photo, a baby in the neonatal ward in the hospital) that has now spread further

Eight infants tested positive for the bacterial infection in Flinders Medical Center (photo, a baby in the neonatal ward in the hospital) that has now spread further

The first case of the hospital pathogen in two decades can cause urinary tract and breathing problems that may lead to pneumonia and sepsis.

A baby was isolated and treated with antibiotics when the first case was confirmed on May 18 and fully recovered.

While the cot was disinfected and all other patients diverted to surrounding hospitals, a second baby tested positive two weeks later on May 30 after being placed in the same bed.

SA Health says work is underway to determine if there is a link between the hospital case and the FMC case.

A second outbreak of the rare disease was found in Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital (pictured), leading to testing of all babies in the special care unit

A second outbreak of the rare disease was found in Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital (pictured), leading to testing of all babies in the special care unit

A second outbreak of the rare disease was found in Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital (pictured), leading to testing of all babies in the special care unit

One of the babies had previously been taken to hospital but was treated in a separate room.

What is Serratia Marcescens?

The pathogen can cause urinary tract infection, sepsis or pneumonia.

It can pose a threat to older people or newborn babies.

It is increasingly multi-resistant to many broad-spectrum antibiotics.

The main transmission path is direct or indirect contact with infected persons or objects.

Source: Bode Science Center

“As a precaution, all babies on the Special Care Baby Unit will be wiped clean and tested for Serratia,” SA Health said Friday.

However, it is common for this bacterium to be in people’s intestines, especially if they are hospitalized and unwell.

“Families of babies within the unit are currently being notified of the ongoing precautions.”

Dr. Diana Lawrence of South Australia’s Health said all 40 babies in the Flinders Medical Center unit were tested for the deadly pathogen.

“We are confident it was actually included – it was in a small part of our department and I apologized to the parents of the second baby,” she said at a news conference.

“They are very upset – their baby is sick and our priority is to care for all our babies.”

About 200 environmental test swabs were taken in the department to determine the cause of the infection – which was found in a sink.

The sink has been removed and the room is closed to the rest of the hospital.

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