Eighteen children are at the centre of a contamination scare at a hospital in Dublin.
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin confirmed a bug that can cause infection had been detected on equipment used to carry out colonoscopies.
In a statement, the hospital insisted there is no “immediate impact on children’s health”.
It said the bug – extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBL) – can be immune to antibiotics, but can be treated.
The children affected had undergone a colonoscopy with a contaminated colonoscope between May 17 and July 5.
Families of 15 of the 18 youngsters involved have been contacted by clinical staff at the hospital.
The three remaining families have yet to answer their phones.
“Follow up letters, an information pack and a sample testing kit is being issued to each family,” the hospital said.
“Results will be notified to the families immediately. If any child is found to be positive, the hospital will arrange to meet the family and will provide them with all the necessary information and support.”
The hospital said the contamination emerged after routine quality assurance surveillance on July 6.
A microbiological growth was identified following the sterilisation of the affected colonoscope.
“The hospital immediately quarantined and carried out testing on all scopes and on the scope decontamination system,” the hospital added.
“An emergency scope was sourced for use. Extensive infection control testing on all scopes and on the hospital’s specific scope decontamination system was undertaken.”
The children’s hospital apologised for any distress caused to the families involved.
ESBL is an enzyme produced by bacteria that breaks down some commonly used antibiotics.
A healthy person normally carries thousands of harmless bacteria in their gut, the hospital said.