Northern Ireland

Pseudomonas outbreak: Central system needed

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria
Image caption Pseudomonas bacteria can cause infections in the chest, blood and urine

It has emerged that no central system is in place to monitor the number of Pseudomonas cases in Northern Ireland.

In recent months four babies have died from complications as a result of the infection.

Neo-natal wards across Northern Ireland have conducted deep cleans and intensive checks for the bacteria that can be found in water supply units.

Professor Hugh Pennington told Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that tracking the number of cases was crucial.

The microbiology and food safety expert explained that better co-ordination could help prevent further cases.

"The information is being collected by the people who are looking after the patients," he said.

"It is not as if they would need to do something new except set up a computer programme to collect the data and send out notices to the units involved and there is not a very large number of them.

"They could just ring in if they have a case and give them the details.

"It is a very simple administrative task and I would sincerely hope that they do it."

In December, a baby died from a Pseudomonas infection at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

In January, three more died from a different strain of the infection at the Royal Jubilee Maternity in Belfast.

Taps in neo-natal unit across Northern Ireland have been changed and only sterile water is being used for the direct care of patients.

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