Four Babies Have Died From Drug Resistant Bacteria In Fiji Hospital

Second outbreak of acinetobacter baumanii at Colonial War Memorial Hospital 

By Lice Movono

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 22, 2017) – Four babies died in the past three weeks at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital after the second outbreak this year of acinetobacter baumanii — a drug resistant bacterium — labelled by the World Health Organization as top on the world's list of 12 deadliest bacteria.

The babies reportedly died between May 24 and June 15.

A similar outbreak occurred between the last quarter of 2016 and early 2017 at the CWM Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit and, according to the Health and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar, Lautoka Hospital faced its own outbreak soon after.

Health and Medical Services Ministry's permanent secretary Philip Davies confirmed the four deaths yesterday.

However, well-placed sources at CWMH say more babies may have died from at least one other bacterium, klebsiella.

The babies were admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of CWMH following complications after child birth and according to well-placed sources, contracted the infection a few days after they were admitted to the NICU.

On February 27, the WHO said 12 families of bacteria which posed the greatest threat to human health "were a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters".

The list which includes both acinetobacter and klebsiella among other bacteria was drawn to encourage research and development of new antibiotics.

When asked on Tuesday about hospital action to reduce risk of further infections, Mr Davies said "the ministry is aware of a recent bacterial outbreak at CWMH and is taking appropriate steps to minimise its impacts."

Yesterday, after further attempts to get details of outbreak protocols, Mr Davies confirmed the deaths of four babies and admitted they had contracted acinetobacter baumanii but said there was no evidence they were killed by infection from the bacterium.

"As a precaution, the Ministry of Health has introduced a partial quarantine in sections of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where these infants were treated," he said.

"All new neonatal admissions requiring intensive care are being treated in areas of the NICU where there is no serious risk of bacterial infection. We are taking every action to minimise the risk of bacterial infection, and we are working closely with local expert staff from the World Health Organization to ensure our work is in line with international best practise."

Fiji Times Online.
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