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The feeds, known as total parenteral nutrition (TPN) have been withdrawn by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and an alert has been issued to all neontal units.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

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
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
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

    £70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam