Two Infants Die after E.coli Infection Strikes Hospital

Daily Mail (London), November 23, 2011 | Go to article overview

Two Infants Die after E.coli Infection Strikes Hospital


Byline: Luke Salkeld and Rebecca Evans

TWO babies have died following a hospital outbreak of E.coli poisoning.

Five-day-old Hope Evans was born 'very premature' and contracted the infection while being cared for on a specialist ward.

The second baby died in the community, but doctors suspect the child's mother had caught the infection at the hospital and passed it on at home.

Both cases are centred on Singleton Hospital in Swansea.

Hope died after contracting the ESBL E.coli strain, which is resistant to antibiotics and can cause serious problems for the 'vulnerable'. The killer infection within a hospital will cause concern among patients, and in particular expectant mothers, despite health officials' insistence that the maternity ward remains 'open as usual'. NHS chiefs at the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board said they were aware of five cases of the infection over the past month.

It said two of the cases of ESBL E.coli - normally less serious than the food poisoning strain of E.coli - are being investigated in the maternity and neonatal unit at Singleton. The unit was yesterday only open for full-term births and non-premature babies as a precaution. Hope was born in the hospital on October 31 but never went home after contracting the illness. She died on November 4. Health officials yesterday said a new mother on a maternity ward had contracted the infection but is not seriously ill. A hospital spokesman said: 'ESBL E.coli is most often found in the gastrointestinal tract but may cause urinary tract infections.

'It is resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin, but can be treated.' Dr Bruce Ferguson, medical director, said: 'Tests have confirmed that in one of these cases the ESBL E.coli infection was contracted in the hospital. Sadly, this was a very premature baby who, despite the best efforts of staff, later died.

'The cause of death of this baby is currently being investigated by the coroner. Everyone involved with the unit and in the care of this baby deeply regret this tragic loss. …

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