Two other premature babies who were in the neonatal intensive care unit of the state's only public hospital died after being infected with a bacterium last month, health officials said on Tuesday. # 39; State.

Infants were infected six weeks ago at Newark University Hospital and died last week, but the state's Department of Health said it had not been reported. not been informed of the death until Monday.

They bring to three the total number of deaths in an outbreak that infected four babies with Acinetobacter baumanii, a type of bacterium that is a common cause of nosocomial infections.

Infants had many health problems due to their prematurity and the bacterial infection may not have been the cause of death, the health department said. People whose immune systems are weakened, such as these babies, are particularly susceptible; healthy people are not usually affected.

L & # 39; outbreak: A premature baby dies as a result of the spread of a bacterial infection at Newark Hospital

Adenovirus epidemic: Children return to the Wanaque Settlement where 11 people died

The delay in reporting deaths to state officials prompted the department to send an inspection team to Newark on Tuesday to "investigate the hospital's internal notification policies" . [and] governance, "as well as any other factor that may have prevented the" reporting of case fatalities during an ongoing outbreak, "said the Department of Health.

The communication was so bad that "the hospital's infection control program was not aware of the deaths," the statement said.

There have been no new cases in the unit since October, said a spokesman for the hospital. "We have worked diligently since the discovery of the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii in our neonatal intensive care unit to control the outbreak," said the hospital statement. "We continue to strengthen the appropriate procedures and protocols with our team."

Only one of four infants infected with the bacteria survived; this baby left the hospital at the end of the month of October. During the discovery of the epidemic last month, one of the four babies had been transferred to another hospital for medical treatment of complications related to the premature birth and death of this hospital.

On October 25, state health officials ordered the hospital in difficulty to take corrective action, including the hiring of an approved infection prevention practitioner to guide the facility's efforts.

The University Hospital outbreak occurs amid an ongoing crisis involving unrelated viral outbreaks among children in two long-term care facilities. Eleven children died among the 35 people infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the past two months, and 13 children were infected with a less severe strain of adenovirus in the center. Camden County Voorhees Pediatric Center.

Earlier this year, Governor Phil Murphy ordered an independent observer to oversee operations at the University Hospital, citing concerns about patient safety, finances, and a management decision to phase out pediatric services.

Email: washburn@northjersey.com

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