The deadly Serratia and Klebsiella bacteria are believed to be the cause of the death of 18 babies.

But what are the infections and what effect do they have on newborns?

Klebsiella is a type of bacteria that can cause different types of healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections along with meningitis.

The Serratia bacteria can cause urinary tract infection, pneumonia, respiratory tract infections and meningitis.

It can be spread in health care settings through person-to-person contact.

For example, from patient to patient via the contaminated hands of healthcare personnel, or other persons or, less commonly, by contamination of the environment.

The bacteria are not spread through the air.

Klebsiella is normally found in the human intestines where they do not cause disease.

They are also found in human stool.

Clinical Scientist and Microbiologist, Anthony Jones, explains that in the case of the two hospitals involved persons would have become infected because of poor hygienic conditions.

In healthcare settings, Klebsiella infections commonly occur among sick patients who are receiving treatment for other conditions.

Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators, IVs, catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for Klebsiella infections.

Jones says when the bacteria enters the blood stream then blood poisoning occurs, causing severe, fast deteriorating infections.

Jones says he’s startled by the spread of the bacteria.