Australia: Baby flu outbreak at Women's and Children's Hospital triggers vaccination reminder - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Baby flu outbreak at Women's and Children's Hospital triggers vaccination reminder

10:25  28 october  2019
10:25  28 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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a close up of a hand: About 30 babies are in the hospital's convalescent nursery. (ABC News: Gregor Salmon)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation About 30 babies are in the hospital's convalescent nursery. (ABC News: Gregor Salmon)

More than two dozen babies have been given flu medication after an outbreak of influenza among vulnerable newborns at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital.

Two babies in the convalescent nursery in the hospital's neonatal nursery have tested positive for influenza A.

A further two babies have developed influenza symptoms, but SA Health said no infants in the intensive care or high-dependency units had been exposed to the virus.

The convalescent nursery cares for infants that require more attention and care than a standard neonatal ward, but are not unwell enough to be in intensive care.

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The Women ' s and Children ' s Hospital is located on King William Road in North Adelaide, Australia. It is one of the major hospitals in Adelaide and is a teaching hospital of the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

There are 58 babies in the neonatal nursery, of which around 30 are in the affected nursery.

The hospital is administering the antiviral medicine Tamiflu to all babies in the convalescent nursery to reduce the severity of their illness and the risk of cross-infection.

"It has been detected and confined to the convalescent nursery," head of neonatal medicine Dr Chad Andersen said.

"All symptomatic babies have been isolated in closed cots and parents with babies in the neonatal nursery have been informed, including those [who have been] recently discharged."

About 30 babies at the hospital have been affected.© ABC News About 30 babies at the hospital have been affected.

SA Health said Tamiflu was safe for babies, but had side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

Dr Andersen said its use "in this instance follows international guidelines developed in outbreak conditions".

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"All staff have been advised to stay home if sick and seek medical attention, as well as leave the hospital if they become unwell during the shift," Dr Andersen said.

'Distressing and fearful time' for parents

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said it was a strong reminder for members of the public to get vaccinated.

"It is absolutely crucial that small children in these particular circumstances are kept safe, they are so vulnerable," the union's branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars told the ABC.

"This is also about maximising the entire community's immunity to ensure that we can protect those who are most vulnerable."

Professor Dabars said it was likely to be a very "distressing and fearful time" for parents and loved ones,

"It is definitely of concern, we really need to be careful with these really vulnerable babies," she said.

Babies are generally not given flu vaccines before six months of age, but health authorities have previously urged family members to get vaccinated.

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