E.coli outbreak response reviewed

 

A hospital's response to an E.coli outbreak which claimed the lives of two babies is to be reviewed to ensure conditions are safe for expectant mothers.

The maternity unit at Singleton Hospital in Swansea, South Wales, continues to be restricted to full-term babies following the deaths.

Hope Erin Evans, described as "very premature" by hospital officials, died of the ESBL E.coli infection after being born at the unit.

She was named locally after Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (ABM) University Health Board, which runs the hospital, gave details of the deaths yesterday.

The second case involved a baby whose mother is suspected of contracting the infection at the hospital.

Both babies died at the hospital.

Hospital chiefs were at pains yesterday to play down fears of any potential further risks from the outbreak.

They stressed that ESBL E.coli is not the same as E.coli O157, which causes food poisoning.

In most people ESBL E.coli does not cause harm but in vulnerable individuals, such as premature babies and the elderly, it can cause serious infections.

They restated today that there is no evidence that the infection has spread further.

In an update on the situation Paul Roberts, chief executive of ABM University Health Board, said: "Following discussions between ABM University Health Board and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), it has been agreed that HIW will carry out an external review of the management of our response to the ESBL E.coli cross-infection in the maternity/neonatal unit at Singleton Hospital.

"The purpose of this review will be to ensure that HIW is satisfied that the board has taken all reasonable measures to identify the cause of the cross-infection; that the management of the infections in conjunction with Public Health Wales has been effective; and that the arrangements ABMU have put in place for the ongoing care of mothers and babies are safe and appropriate.

"This review is expected to commence after we have concluded our own investigation into the two cases of ESBL E.coli cross-infection."

PA

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