Rotunda closed neonatal ICU due to infection risk

Rotunda closed neonatal ICU due to infection risk
The Rotunda Hospital.Pic: Alison Cassidy.

One of Ireland's busiest maternity hospitals had to close its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for two days because of the risk of infection.

The Medical Independent (MI) has reported that the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin was closed for two days in August last year after a potential outbreak of ESBL Klebsiella in some babies was identified by staff during a routine screening programme.

According to the Medical Independent, Klebsiella infections can include pneumonia and bloodstream infections, among others.

A hospital spokesperson said the babies did not suffer any clinical effects and were put into the care of a separate isolation area until they were discharged from the hospital.

It came to the attention of management and was discussed at a hospital board meeting last October. The Medical Independent reports that much of the discussion was redacted and the spokesperson said it was because it was under ongoing management.

The spokesperson said: "The Rotunda Hospital identified a potential outbreak of ESBL Klebsiella in a small number of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These cases came to the attention of management as a result of the rigorous routine screening programme, which is in place in the unit.

"It is important to distinguish between ‘infection’ and ‘colonisation’. No babies were ‘infected’ with the ESBL Klebsiella, but instead, routine surveillance cultures noted that a small number of babies were identified as being colonised by this bacterium. No clinical effects occurred because of this surveillance finding."

They also said that the NICU put in place enhanced vigilance and surveillance in keeping with best practice and relevant national guidelines.


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