Sunday, April 29, 2007


Pseudomonas aeruginosa kills six babies in Canada

Six babies die of sink bacteria in Canada

April 28, 2007

Montreal's Ste-Justine Hospital has confirmed that six premature babies who died three years ago in it were infected from bacteria found in a poorly maintained plumbing system, according to Canadian media reports Saturday.

The reports said that about 50 babies had contracted pseudomonas aeruginosa. Four of them, all born prematurely, died. The deaths of two other babies may also have been caused by the bacteria.

The bacterium typically targets the respiratory system, causing pneumonia and septicemia. The premature babies in the neo-natal ward are particularly vulnerable because of their already compromised immune systems.

After the first baby died in 2004, the hospital disinfected the crowded ward and searched for the source of the bacterium but over the next 18 months, five more babies died.

The hospital closed the ward in December 2005 and discovered that the bacterium was breeding in the ward's sinks, which were not draining properly, the reports showed.

The hospital replaced its aging plumbing system and built a new neo-natal ward to open next year.

Ste-Justine said the situation is now under control and there have been no deaths in the last two years.

Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard, under fire for this scandal, insisted Friday the public was never at risk.

Sainte-Justine is Quebec's only health care establishment exclusively dedicated to children, adolescents and mothers.


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