A premature baby died while four others were found sick at a New Jersey hospital because of a bacterial infection.
According to reports, health officials are probing into bacterial infections in the neonatal intensive care unit of University Hospital in Newark following the death of the premature baby in late September.
In a statement published by Eyewitness News, Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness director Mark Wade said that they were notified of the death of the infant on Oct. 25.
Following the child’s death, the state Department of Health also discovered four cases of Acinetobacter baumannii infection in the NICU of the hospital since October.
Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria is known to cause pneumonia or serious blood or wound infections.
Wade said that acinetobacter is a hospital-acquired infection with no community transmission, which means that it does not pose risk of spreading in the Newark community.
The bacteria poses little risk to healthy people, but those with weakened immune system and those with serious health conditions such as diabetes and chronic lung disease are more susceptible to infection. It can spread by person-to-person contact or through contact with contaminated surfaces.
The infant contracted the bacterial infection but the exact cause of death is still under investigation due to compounding medical conditions.
Wade said that the New Jersey Department of Health has been communicating with University Hospital officials and are in the process of determining the cause of death.
The University Hospital and the New Jersey Department of Health are working together to control acinetobacter and are employing all possible methods to control any issue that may arise.
“The Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness will continue to carefully monitor the situation,” Wade said in a statement.
The state Department of Health said that it found major infection control deficiencies at the hospital, but a plan of correction has already been ordered. Two department teams, which have been monitoring the situation, are tracking cases of infection and ensuring that the infection control protocols are followed.
“The Department has ordered a Directed Plan of Correction that requires University Hospital to employ a full-time Certified Infection Control Practitioner consultant, who will report to the Department on immediate actions taken in the coming days,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said in a statement.
“The Department is also exploring further actions it may need to take in the coming days to ensure patient safety.”