Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson is to address a media conference this morning at 10:00 on efforts to contain a reportedly deadly infection affecting some new born babies at the University Hospital of the West Indies, UHWI.
Nationwide News disclosed on Friday that several new born babies have died from an infection which some medical personnel have referred to as a mystery bug affecting the UHWI.
Some parents and medical personnel have told our news center that the deaths have been ongoing for over six weeks.
Following the disclosure by Nationwide News on Friday Dr. Ferguson summoned the Board and Management of the UHWI along with technocrats from his Ministry to an emergency meeting on Saturday morning.
The leadership of the South East Regional Health Authority was also invited to the meeting.
Dr. Ferguson conceded via a media release issued on Saturday night that the bug affecting some newborns at the facility had been identified.
The Health Minister did not comment on resulting deaths or identify the cause of the infection. But he says he’s ordered that the infection be contained in the shortest possible time.
Dr. Ferguson said he’ll inform the media briefing on Tuesday of challenges facing the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, NICU, at the UHWI.
He says the infection affecting some babies is receiving appropriate treatment as efforts are underway to contain its spread.
Our news center understands that over the weekend the hands of personnel working at the NICU were swabbed and sent for testing.
It’s understood that a probe is also now underway at the Bustammante Children’s hospital which has also been affected by the unidentified infection.
Dr. Ferguson says he’s asked Jamaica’s international partners to be on standby as the Ministry is attempting to contain the infection at the UHWI.
Dr. Ferguson says he’s in touch with international partners including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Sources at the UHWI tell our news center that the bug affecting babies at the UHWI is the Serratia and Klebsiella bacteria.
Serratia usually results in fever, chills, pain, shock and respiratory distress.
While the Klebsiella infection is known to cause severe bouts of pneumonia in newborn babies.
The Klebsiella bacteria was this week blamed for the deaths of five infants in South Africa.
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