Six babies in MRSA outbreak at Addenbrooke's Hospital

Rosie Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The babies are in the neonatal unit at Addenbrooke's site in Cambridge

Six babies have been affected by an outbreak of the MRSA "superbug" at a hospital maternity unit in Cambridge.

The infants were found to be carrying the bacteria on their skin at the Rosie neonatal ward of Addenbrooke's Hospital, the Cambridge News reported.

The bug was found during routine checks, the hospital said.

The babies are being monitored and no units have closed. Public Health England has been made aware, its trust added.

The outbreak came to light after a "higher incidence of positive colonisation" of the bug was noticed during routine monitoring within the past month, a spokesman told the BBC.

"MRSA colonisation means that the bacteria is simply 'sitting on the skin' (in any site) but is causing no harm to the person," Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust said on its website.

More on this and other news from Cambridgeshire

MRSA: What is it?

The trust said Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus - known as MRSA - is "a common germ/bug (bacteria), that three in 10 of us carry naturally".

It is resistant to some antibiotics.

A hospital spokesman stressed the affected babies were carrying the bug and it had not entered their bloodstreams.

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The bug is resistant to methicillin, a type of penicillin, as well as many other types of antibiotics

"Most of the time MRSA just sits on the skin without causing a problem, but if it enters the body through an open wound for example, it may cause an infection," a spokesman said.

"We are treating all the MRSA carriers and screening other patients on the ward frequently to closely monitor the situation."

No other babies or parents at the maternity hospital have been affected.

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