Eleven babies that contracted the deadly Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria are still being monitored at the Tembisa Hospital on Gauteng’s East Rand where ten babies earlier died from the infection.
The babies that are still being treated are part of a group of 14 babies that survived after contracting the resistant bacterial infection.
Three have since been discharged.
The bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and causes infections in the bloodstream, lungs and urinary tract – including pneumonia and meningitis.
Clinical Manager for Mother and Child, Dr Relebohile Ncha says: “Looking at this current situation, our ward was definitely overcrowded at the time that the incident occurred and we also had a shortage of staff. There are multiple factors that impact on an outbreak actually occurring. We know that our babies were premature which means that their immune system is not strong enough and their lungs were not well developed so they already had some sort of probabilities when they came to the ward.”
Ncha adds: “The issue of overcrowding is also a big, big challenge because the babies are close to each other. You don’t have the proper distance between patients so that also contributes to the spread of a virus or a bacteria.”
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