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Bacteria found in babies at two Adelaide hospitals dubbed a coincidence by health officials

A rare and deadly bacterial outbreak that infected babies in two separate South Australian hospitals has been ruled as a coincidence by health authorities.

Eight babies tested positive to serratia marcescens at Adelaide’s Flinders Medical Centre earlier this month.

One infant at the city’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital also tested positive in the same week. 

Following an investigation by SA Health, authorities found the outbreak at Flinders Medical Centre was not a match to the bacteria at the second hospital.

Eight infants tested positive for the bacterial infection at Flinders Medical Centre earlier this month (pictured, a baby in the neonatal ward at the hospital)

Eight infants tested positive for the bacterial infection at Flinders Medical Centre earlier this month (pictured, a baby in the neonatal ward at the hospital)

Serratia marcescens, which can lead to pneumonia and sepsis, has not been seen in a hospital in the city for 20 years.

SA Acting Chief Medical Officer Mike Cusack said testing had ruled out any links between the cases. 

‘They are different bugs,’ he said.

‘The genomic sequencing of the bacteria cultured from the symptomatic baby at [the Women’s and Children’s] did not match that obtained from the [Flinders] babies.

‘Following extensive swabbing at both FMC and WCH, we have seen no further positive tests and are confident there are no further sources of this bacteria in the local environment.’ 

A second outbreak of the rare disease has been found at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital (pictured), prompting all infants in the special care unit to be tested

A second outbreak of the rare disease has been found at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital (pictured), prompting all infants in the special care unit to be tested

What is Serratia Marcescens? 

 The pathogen may cause urinary tract infection, sepsis or pneumonia.

It can pose a threat to older people or newborn babies. 

It is increasingly multi-resistant to many broad-spectrum antibiotics.

The main transmission path is direct or indirect contact with contaminated persons or objects.

 Source: Bode Science Centre

The infected babies were immediately isolated and staff wore protective clothing following the outbreak.

The neonatal ward in Flinders Medical Centre has returned to normal operations.

Six of the nine babies were asymptomatic while two babies showing symptoms remain at Flinders Medical Centre in a stable condition.

The third infected baby has been discharged from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. 

A baby was isolated and treated with antibiotics when the first case was confirmed on May 18, and made a full recovery. 

While the infant’s bed was disinfected and all other patients were diverted to surrounding hospitals, a second baby tested positive two weeks on May 30 later after it was placed in the same bed. 

All babies in the Flinders Medical Centre were tested.

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Written by Angle News

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