Three infants died and five others were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit in a US hospital over the past two months after contracting a deadly waterborne germ, officials have revealed, APA reports citing Sputnik.
Edward Hartle, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Geisinger Medical Center in Montour County, Pennsylvania, confirmed Monday that there had been an outbreak of pseudomonas infection, which is caused by strains of bacteria that are widespread in the environment. The disease affected eight premature babies.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pseudomonas is not typically dangerous to healthy people, but infection usually strikes people with “weakened immune systems” and can potentially cause severe illness and death. The condition is usually treated with antibiotics. However, it is becoming more difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.
“Selecting the right antibiotic usually requires that a specimen from a patient be sent to a laboratory to test to see which antibiotics might still be effective for treating the infection,” the CDC reports.
Out of the eight infants infected with pseudomonas at Geisinger, four have been “successfully treated,” one is currently responding to treatment, and three others have died “which may have been a result of the infection complicating their already vulnerable state due to extreme prematurity,” Hartle said in a recent statement to USA Today.
According to the CDC, patients who are on breathing machines are especially at risk for pseudomonas infection, which can be “spread on the hands of healthcare workers or by equipment that gets contaminated and is not properly cleaned.”
The first case occurred in July. The remaining infections have been scattered over the past few months.
The hospital has already taken “extensive measures” to eradicate the bacteria, including “achieving optimal chlorination in water lines, improving and maintaining vigilance in donor breast milk processing, routine tap water cultures, increased deep cleaning of our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and many others,” Matthew Van Stone, director of media relations at the hospital, said in a recent statement, Black News Zone reported.