Three more babies poisoned by suspected drip feed contamination

More cases identified as investigation continues - at least 18 babies affected

Three more babies are known to have been poisoned by a suspected contamination in their drip feed, health officials have said, as investigators revealed that the contaminated product had been sent to 22 hospitals in England.

In total, 18 babies have been affected and one killed, in one of the worst medical contamination incidents in recent years.

All of the cases occurred between Wednesday last week and Sunday. Health officials said they did not expect any further cases.

The babies suffered blood poisoning caused by an infection by the bacteria Bacillus cereus. Public health officials believe the infection was caused by a contaminated intravenous feed. One baby died at St Thomas' Hospital on Sunday. The other babies are said to be responding to antibiotic treatment.

The factory where the feeds were made was investigated by the UK medicines regulator on Wednesday, as experts sought to understand how a batch of the product could have become contaminated.

Today the manufacturer, north London firm ITH Pharma, issued a statement saying the source of the contamination had been found to be a “single raw ingredient used in the liquid feeds”.

The feeds, known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN) have been withdrawn by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and an alert has been issued to all neontal units.

Health officials do not expect any further cases, as it is believed that only one batch of the product was contaminated, and that this batch would have expired on Monday.

The bags of nutrients, said to be one of the most complex pharmaceutical products in use, contains up to 50 different chemicals. The company has provided 800,000 products of the kind to hospitals in the past year.

In a statement, Karen Hamling, managing director of ITH Pharma said: “From investigations carried out so far, it would appear the potential contamination is linked to a sourced single raw material ingredient.”

Ms Hamling said she had been “deeply saddened” by the incident.

St Thomas’ Hospital in London (Rex Features) St Thomas’ Hospital in London (Rex Features)

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the incident was “tragic”.

“Today's story about the tragic blood poisoning of 18 children shows we can never take safety for granted,” he said, during a conference of NHS managers. “It also shows the importance of prompt and early identification of problems.”

The product was withdrawn on Wednesday after investigators isolated the probable source of the infections after cases of similar poisoning were reported at multiple hospitals.

Originally it was believed that 15 babies had been infected at six hospitals in the south and east of England. However, Public Health England said this morning that more cases, linked to the same suspected contamination, may come to the light over the course of their investigation. Later in the day they confirmed that cases had occurred at three more hospitals - Peterborough City Hospital, Southend University Hospital and Basildon University Hospital. MHRA said that 22 hospitals had received the “implicated stock”.

ITH Pharma was founded in 2008 by Ms Hamling and her husband, Adam Bloom, both of whom are trained pharmacists.

It was rated one of Britain's fastest-growing companies in 2012 and made profits of more than £500,000 last year.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Trust Accountant - Kent

    NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

    Geography Teacher

    £85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

    Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style