Baby deaths bug in Belfast hospital traced to taps

A killer infection that claimed the lives of three babies in a Belfast hospital has been traced to taps in the neo-natal unit, the North's health minister said.

All the taps and connected pipe work in the room at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital are to be removed as experts try to eradicate all traces of the pseudomonas bacteria, Edwin Poots told the Stormont Assembly.

One baby continues to be treated amid as yet unconfirmed fears that the infant has also contracted the potentially deadly infection.

“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 in the RJMH,” 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 ultra violet technology may be installed in the region‘s hospitals in a bid to prevent further outbreaks.

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