UK & World News

  • 5 June 2014, 23:51

More Babies Diagnosed With Blood Poisoning

Three more babies have suffered blood poisoning from suspected contaminated hospital drips, health officials have revealed.

A spokesman for Public Health England said that so far, 18 infants have been taken ill with septicaemia at several hospitals across the UK.

One of them, a youngster who was being treated in intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital in central London, has died.

The cases are "strongly linked" to a batch of a liquid called parenteral nutrition, which was fed to the babies through intravenous drips.

It is usually produced under sterilised conditions to cut the risk of infections.

The PHE spokesman warned more cases may be reported in babies who developed an infection last week or over the weekend but added: "We're confident any remaining stock of this medicine is not being used in hospitals."

The medicine believed to be at the centre of the poisoning is made by ITH Pharma, a London-based drugs company.

Its managing director, Karen Hamling, said she was "deeply saddened" by the infant's death and the string of poisonings.

"There is no reason for patients, their families or healthcare professionals to be concerned," she said.

"From investigations, it would appear the potential contamination is linked to a sourced, single, raw material ingredient."

She added: "I want to reassure people we're doing everything possible to help the regulators establish exactly what has happened."

As well as St Thomas', babies have fallen ill in neonatal intensive care units at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, Whittington Hospital, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, CUH Addenbrookes and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.

The three new cases are at Southend University Hospital, Peterborough City Hospital and Basildon University Hospital.

Infected batches have been identified at a total of 22 hospitals, a mix of private and NHS.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency issued a Class 1 Drug Alert over the suspected batch of contaminated liquid.

It is the most critical warning and requires an immediate recall.

Sky's Health Correspondent Thomas Moore said premature and seriously sick children were particularly vulnerable to infections.

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