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Infectious bacteria blamed for 18 baby deaths at two hospitals

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Cornwall Regional Hospital

The Health Ministry has disclosed that since the start of the year, 18 babies have died due to an infection outbreak at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

It says the infections are caused by the Klebsiella and Serratia bacteria. 

The disclosure was made at a press conference this morning where Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson also revealed that he only learnt of the situation last Friday.

That was the same day that it was first reported on Nationwide Radio.

At this morning's event National Epidemiologist, Dr Karen Webster, noted that there were four outbreaks involving the bacteria-causing infections.

There have been 42 cases in total.

She said one outbreak took place during July at both hospitals and the others, which are ongoing, started in September. 

Webster noted that a number of measures have been put in place to mitigate against the issue including increased sanitary measures to ensure neonatal areas are kept clean.

Meanwhile, Ferguson, said after learning of the situation on Friday, a team was immediately assigned to conduct investigations and provide guidelines for case management.