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Pseudomonas update Friday 20 January


Public Health Agency

Type: News
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Health Minister Edwin Poots was this afternoon (Friday) briefed by senior figures across the health service on measures being taken to deal with the outbreak of Pseudomonas in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital.Seven babies who have been nursed in the neonatal unit have had Pseudomonas infection. Three have sadly died. One baby is currently undergoing treatment and is doing well, two have been treated and have already recovered. Another baby recovered from Pseudomonas but sadly subsequently died of unrelated causes.During the teleconference this afternoon, Dr Lorraine Doherty, PHA said: "The PHA is working closely with the Belfast Trust, supporting them in their outbreak investigation as well as providing infection prevention advice. Pseudomonas bacterium is an organism that can be found in many natural environments, including soil and water. Infections are mainly seen in immunocompromised and debilitated patients."Outbreaks of Pseudomonas have occurred in intensive care facilities around the world as patients in these facilities are frequently immunocompromised. The PHA will continue to support the Trust in their full investigation of this outbreak."There was an incident of pseudomonas infection in December in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Altnagelvin Hospital in which one baby died.  All necessary control measures were put in place at the time and the infection was eradicated. It is important to note that the strains of Pseudomonas infection in Altnagelvin and the Royal Jubilee Maternity are different and there is no evidence to link the current outbreak in the Royal Jubilee Maternity with that of the incident at Altnagelvin in December.At a teleconference attended by key figures from the health and social care service, Mr Poots was told neonatal units across Northern Ireland continue to work closely, according to established arrangements, should the need arise to transfer mothers due to give birth or babies who require special neonatal care. As is normal working practice, the decision about where a baby should be born or if a baby should be transferred will be made on an individual basis by the clinicians.The Minister was told that a team of specialists was currently investigating the unit, with the aim of identifying the source of the infection as quickly as possible. Health experts continue to take proactive actions to ensure that specialist neonatal care remains available for all infants.The Department of Health, HSC Board, Trusts, Public Health Agency and Ambulance Service are working very closely together to ensure safe continuity of care for the infants, and support for their families.Mr Poots said: "It is important that the parents and families of the babies affected are given all the support they require. I would also ask people to remain calm. The infection control team is now in the process of trying to identify the source of the infection and our health and social care system is in a good position to make sure all babies receive the neonatal care they require."I spent some time today with the doctors and nurses who work in the unit and I want to personally thank them again for all their hard work and dedication during this difficult period."In the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, the neonatal unit is the only part affected by the Pseudomonas outbreak. The delivery wards and all other services at Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital are operating as normal. Expectant mothers should attend their appointments as scheduled. The Trust, PHA and the Department will continue to monitor the situation.Mr Poots has asked to be kept updated regularly by the Trusts, PHA and HSCB over the weekend.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Public Health Agency. (2012) Pseudomonas update Friday 20 January [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 17th November 2019].


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