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Seven premature babies died during the bacterial infection outbreak at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWM) New born Intensive Care Unit early this month.
But the Fiji's Health Ministry is yet to confirm whether their deaths were related to the outbreak.
Health Minister Rosy Akbar told parliament that they are now working with the World Health Organisation to conduct further tests.
Akbar says the bacteria “acinetobacter baumannii“is resistant to most antibiotics.
The CWM Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit was closed for 14 days because of the outbreak.
Akbar says while the outbreak has been contained and the unit reopened, investigations are now underway to determine how the infection developed.
“So all in all there were seven deaths and like I mentioned, for a healthy person, for a healthy person’s immune system will be resistant to any bacterial infection, in this case we had seven premature babies who were infected with this acinetobacter baumanni and we are still in the process to determine whether this bacterium actually caused the death of those babies.”
Akbar adds the bacterium is widely found in soil, water and other parts of the environment.
While it doesn’t harm healthy people with strong immune systems, it can lead to illnesses in individuals with severe health challenges and in this case, new born babies.
The minister says the source of this latest outbreak is unknown at this stage and realistically will take us some time.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is providing technical expertise to support the Ministry of Health and Medical Services' investigation to determine the cause of the acinetobacter baumannii bacteria outbreak at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit three weeks ago.
Dr James Fong acting Medical Superintendent for CWM said investigations to determine the cause of the outbreak may take three months.
However in an interview last Friday, CWMH medical superintendent Dr Jemesa Tudravu confirmed that services at the CWMH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit had normalised.
“We've started services that were closed and have reopened it again on Monday (last week). In fact some started on Saturday so essentially we are back to normal services,” he said.
“We opened the Emergency Department as well as the two Intensive Care Unit.”
The decision to close the unit was made after the CWMH pediatrics unit found the presence of the acinetobacter baumannii bacteria in a number of newborn babies.
Dr Tudravu said CWMH now had a committee that looked after such issues and also a surveillance system that surveyed infections in the hospital on a daily basis.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/ FIJI VILLAGE/FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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