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Nine Babies Evacuated from Neonatal ICU After Presence of Pseudomonas Bacteria Found in Three Neonatal Patients at Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC)

Wed August 10 2016 2:12 pm
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A Maryland hospital, Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC), evacuated and closed its neonatal intensive care unit after discovering potentially deadly bacteria present in three babies. The bacteria, called Pseudomonas, is suspected to have come from the hospital’s water.

Infectious species include P. aeruginosa, P. oryzihabitans, and P. plecoglossicida. P. aeruginosa are found in hospital environments, and form the second-most common cause of nosocomial infection (infections of hospitalized patients).

P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen, most commonly affecting immunocompromised patients, such as those with cystic fibrosis or AIDS. Infections can affect many different parts of the body, but infections typically target the respiratory tract.

Treatment of such infections can be especially difficult due to multiple antibiotic resistance. In the United States there was an increase in MDRPA (Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa) resistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, and aminoglycosides, from 0.9% in 1994 to 5.6% in 2002

The hospital released the following statement …

“Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) has begun a process to transfer the 9 current patients in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to other hospitals due to three recent positive patient surveillance cultures for the presence of bacterium Pseudomonas. While three current neonatal patients tested positive for the presence of the organism in the process of vigilant surveillance protocols, all are clinically asymptomatic for any active infection with the bacterium. Pseudomonas is caused by strains of bacteria found widely in the environment; the most common type causing infections in humans is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

PGHC has been in active consultation with public health authorities, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts, and is acting out of an abundance of caution in the best interest of our most vulnerable patient population. We have been monitoring all NICU patients very closely for several days. The positive patient culture results are limited to the NICU at this time.

The hospital is working collaboratively with public health authorities as well as epidemiology and infection control experts from the Prince George’s County Health Department, the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine to identify the root cause of the Pseudomonas and to help prevent future exposures.

Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of all of our patients and their families, as well as our valued team of caregivers. We realize that this situation is a source of concern to families, staff and the community. All parties should be assured of our commitment to manage this transfer process and concurrent investigation as smoothly as possible, and to provide many layers of support.

We acknowledge that there are many questions and concerns about this matter, and we will work diligently to answer them thoroughly and thoughtfully. While the investigation into the positive bacterium cultures is ongoing by qualified experts, our top immediate priority is the safe and efficient transfer of patients and providing support to our NICU families and staff.

We look forward to resuming admissions to the NICU very soon and returning it to full service for our community.”

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