An outbreak of the multi-drug resistant “superbug” Klebsiella has hit Durban’s Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s neonatal ICU, with 10 babies infected in less than two weeks.
It was uncertain whether there had been any deaths to date at the hospital in Phoenix, DA KwaZulu-Natal MPL Dr Imran Keeka said on Sunday.
“The bacteria, which in the ICU setting can cause life threatening or fatal septicaemia, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and other infections.
“This has led to the containment of the unit with babies in need of urgent medical care being diverted to other facilities in the province in the interim,” Keeka said.
The DA was stunned by this revelation. Several years ago there was a Klebsiella outbreak at the hospital which led to the deaths of many babies.
The information followed just weeks after the DA exposed an outbreak of the multi-drug resistant bug Acinetobacter at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital’s NICU which had already led to the deaths of two babies.
It also followed last years’ exposure of the deaths of five new-born babies at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli allegedly due to either Acinetobacter and/or Klebsiella, he said.
On each occasion the DA called on KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to order an immediate and comprehensive audit into infection controls at all provincial hospitals.
“To the best of our knowledge this has never taken place. This demonstrates a complete lack of empathy. The outbreak of such serious bacterial outbreaks should never happen in a hospital where infection controls are taken seriously.
“Equally alarming is that, as with the recent Acinetobacter outbreak at Inkosi Albert Luthuli, KZN’s health department has not informed the public about the circumstances at Mahatma Gandhi. Again, this is reminiscent of the previous regime that hid matters of important public interest to cover up their atrocities and injustice,” Keeka said.
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