Belfast hospital baby deaths linked to sink taps

An infection in a Belfast hospital that has killed at least three babies has been traced to the sink taps, the Northern Ireland health minister confirmed, the Irish Examiner reported.

The bacteria causing the infection was found in taps at a neo-natal unit in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, the BBC reported. The unit has been deep cleaned since the infection broke out. On Tuesday, a seventh case was found.

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"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 neonatal unit in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital," Edwin Poots, the Northern Ireland health minister said, the BBC reported.
"The Trust Health Estates team are in the process of removing and replacing all taps and related pipe work in the affected area."

All of the taps and connected pipe work to the maternity ward are being removed and experts are trying to eradicate all traces of the bacteria, the Irish Examiner reported.

Poots stressed there was no evidence there was any of the bacteria in the water system itself. New ultraviolet light taps, which would kill the bacteria at the source, would be introduced to the ward, the BBC reported.

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"The unit will only be opened once all remedial work is completed and tests show that it is safe to nurse babies in this environment," Poots said, the BBC reported.

Three babies, all born prematurely, have died since Jan. 6 in the ward from the bacteria found in the sink taps, the Irish Central reported. Altogether seven babies have been infected, including the three that died, two that recovered, one which recovered but later died from unrelated causes, and one that now has pneumonia and is potentially infected.


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