Bacteria Scare Closes Maryland Hospital NICU For Second Time

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the second time in less than three months, a Maryland hospital closes its NICU after babies test positive for a potentially deadly bacteria.

Two babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Prince George’s Hospital Center tested positive for bacterium Pseudomonas, a potentially fatal combination. Five babies had to be transferred out of as a precaution, and were taken to other hospitals.

The last time the hospital was forced to shut down its NICU was in August, when the bacterium was found in the water supply system. The hospital cleaned and treated the source of the problem.

“We have concerns over the rediscovered presence within the NICU setting, but we will be relentless in researching and eliminating the bacterium however possible,” Sherry B. Perkins, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Healthcare System, which owns the hospital, said in a statement.

“Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our patients, as well as supporting the needs of our families,” she said.

“This is a complex epidemiological case, but our dedicated group of public health experts are working closely to determine the cause of this latest bacterium presence. We have concerns over the rediscovered presence within the NICU setting, but we will be relentless in researching and eliminating the bacterium however possible.”

51,000 people get infected with Pseudomonas  in health care facilities each year, 400 of those cases become fatal.

“Patients in the hospital who tend to get Pseudomonas infections are those who are really very very ill,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner.

Less than a month after re-opening the NICU, some are outraged it’s back to square one.

“Sad and mad, innocent children, innocent children that didn’t even ask to be here,” said one woman.

At this point, the hospital says it’s not sure of the source of this latest occurrence, and that’s why they’ve transferred all the babies to other hospitals until they can figure it out.

For the last closure in August, nine babies were transferred out of that hospital.

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