AN OUTBREAK of a killer infection detected for the first time at a UK hospital is said to have claimed the lives of two babies.
The premature infants were tragically struck by a rare strain of Staphtaphylococcus aureus, a bloodstream infection described by NHS bosses as “very challenging to bring under control”.
The babies died at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow, and a third became ill after picking up the virus, which is spread by body contact.
A fourth baby was treated for the infection while a further four youngsters had bacteria on their skin but did not need treatment, according to reports.
Health chiefs have vowed to continue “robust” screening for the infection, which is thought to have been previously spotted only in China and Germany.
“For this particular strain, it was the first time it has been seen in the UK”
Dr Jennifer Armstrong
But activists have insisted “one baby is one baby too much.”
Campaigner Jean Anne Mitchell said “I’m absolutely shocked and horrified to find that babies in our neonatal units are dying of Staphylococcus, which is a bloodstream infection caused by body to body contact.”
“Parents cannot move forward”, Ms Mitchell added.
“There must be an audit trail of staff who dealt with these babies.
“Staff are going from unit to unit to cover gaps.
“If my baby was being cared for in a neonatal unit I would expect that everything was being done to make my baby better and not for someone to not have done something to give my baby the best chance to survive.
“Parents who are already suffering, the last thing they want to know is that they may have done something to cause this.”
Dr Jennifer Armstrong, Medical Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, conceded the infection was “difficult to bring under control”.
She added: “For this particular strain, it was the first time it has been seen in the UK.
“We worked very closely with England and that does mean screening all parents, all staff and all visitors who come into the unit.
“We are still screening babies and we will continue to do so until we are absolutely certain that it is out of our hospitals.”
It comes hours after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that a killer flu pandemic is inevitable – and the world must be “vigilant and prepared”.
And weeks earlier two people died after a fungal infection linked to pigeon poo hit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, also in Glasgow.