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Multi-resistant bacteria shutters neonatal unit

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Multi-resistant bacteria shutters neonatal unit
09:59 CEST+02:00
The neonatal clinic at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna was reopened on Friday after having been closed for several days following the discovery that six children were infected with multi-resistant bacteria.

"We have now opened again. It has been closed since last Wednesday," a press spokeswoman at Karolinska University Hospital told The Local on Friday.

Michael Norman, director of the hospital's neonatal operations, explained that the unit was closed after several children were found to be infected with staphylococcus bacteria.

"We detected that several children have more resistant staphylococcus on the skin and mucous membranes," he told the Aftonbladet daily.

The hospital discovered the bacteria in the intensive care unit for newborn babies.

MRSA bacteria is classified as a public health hazard and there is a requirement that any outbreak should be reported to the county council and Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet - SMI).

According to SMI statistics, MRSA infections are a growing problem and in 2012 a record 2,097 cases were reported. In the first eight months of 2013 some 1,515 cases have been registered, indicating that last year's record high will be exceeded.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week described the problem as an urgent and growing threat following the publication of figures indicating that some 23,000 people die each year in the country due to MRSA infections.

Antibiotic-resistance is known to be caused when commercial drugs kill good bacteria which protect the body as well as those causing infections, allowing for drug-resistant bacteria to move in.

Many MRSA infections occur in hospitals and healthcare facilities further complicating the effective treatment of sufferers.

TT/The Local/pvs

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