Health & Fit 3 infant deaths at hospital linked to tainted donor breast milk
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Contaminated donor breast milk turned out to be the culprit in an incident last month in which eight premature infants were infected with bacteria in a neonatal intensive care unit of a Pennsylvania hospital. Three of those infants died.
Following an internal investigation at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., in conjunction with the state health department, infection control experts traced the bacteria to equipment the hospital was using to measure donor breast milk, the hospital said Friday.
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The hospital has since switched to single-use equipment for distributing donor milk and hasn't had any new infections since that change.
"It is important to emphasize that the donor breast milk at Geisinger is safe, and we are certain the milk itself was not the cause of the exposure," Dr. Edward Hartle, the hospital's chief medical officer, said in a statement.
Hartle stressed that breast milk is the best food for infants, including premature ones, and that mothers should have no concerns about the safety of their own breast milk.
The infants who were sicked contracted an infection caused by pseudomonas bacteria. Infections caused by the waterborne bacteria are among the most common hospital-acquired infections.
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"Pseudomonas bacteria is present throughout the environment, and only presents a health risk in extremely fragile patients," Hartle said.
For now, Geisinger will continue to send mothers delivering prematurely -- before 32 weeks gestation -- to other facilities in the area. They plan to resume treating those patients upon approval from the state health department.
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Contaminated infant milk: "Salmonella can remain a year in the digestive flora of some children"
The pediatrician and infectiologist Robert Cohen answers franceinfo's questions about the risks of recurrence of salmonellosis.
Noan, a six-month-old baby, was hospitalized for the third time, Monday, January 8, in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), after ingesting As of 20 December, Public Health France had identified 35 infants with salmonellosis in France since mid-August.Contaminated Salmonella. His mother, Ségolène Noviant, vice-president of the Lactalis victims' association, confided her distress and anxiety to the . Like others, she is preparing to file a complaint against the company, says the newspaper in its Monday edition.
Since the beginning of December, little Noan chained episodes of fever and diarrhea, describes his mother. " Other moms, like me, are three hospitalizations, says the young mother Parisien.Now I am told that her pain will be chronic. But can salmonellosis really become a chronic disease? How long will young Noan, and other infected infants, have to fight this infection? Robert Cohen, pediatrician and president of the Pediatric Infectious Pathology Group (GPIP) of the French Society of Pediatrics, answers franceinfo's questions.
Franceinfo: What are the complications that can be caused by a salmonella infection?
Robert Cohen: Salmonellosis is very common and healthy subjects recover spontaneously and quickly, without necessarily resorting to antibiotic treatments. But there are risk groups that can actually develop complications. These are infants, especially newborns under three months of age, and very old subjects. Between these two age groups, individuals who have immune deficits are also more fragile.
The complications can be digestive, with diarrhea that extend over time. Salmonellae also tend to get into the blood, and this can become more serious. Salmonella can cause bone damage and meningitis. But this remains very rare cases.
A salmonella infection can therefore cause chronic pain?
It's very complicated and very simple at the same time. Generally, when a healthy individual is infected with salmonella, it eliminates bacteria in seven to ten days. In young children, it stays longer, because the sooner you catch Salmonella, the more likely it is to wear them for a long time. There are children who can wear them for a year in their digestive flora. Antibiotics do not change anything, they even have the opposite effect: they prolong the carriage of salmonella. In other words, antibiotics are not always the answer.
But these children can keep salmonella without necessarily getting sick. The difficulty for the doctor is not to be obsessed with the salmonella that still bears this individual. It is not because a person has diarrhea and is still carrying salmonella that it is necessarily caused by salmonellosis, and not by gastroenteritis, for example.
How do you know if it is Salmonella still in the body of the child that makes him sick?
It's very complicated. This can not be detected by a general practitioner or a pediatrician, you must really contact a doctor specialized in gastroenterology. Salmonellosis has very different symptoms, which can be explained by many other things.
A recurrence of salmonellosis can be identified through medical examinations. The blood test reveals the biological signs that show that there is a real infection with microbes. If salmonella is no longer detected only in the stool, but also in the blood, this is the most dangerous case, which must be closely monitored.
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