Klebsiella outbreak ruled out

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Health officials in KwaZulu-Natal say fears that there is an outbreak of Klebsiella at the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi in Durban should be put to rest.

The assurance by the department of health comes after the recent death of two infants at the hospital, leading to fears that the babies could have died of Klebsiella.

Department of health spokesman Nhlanhla Nkosi last week revealed that tests conducted at the nursery wards had found evidence to suggest that the deaths of the infants were linked to Klebsiella.

Two weeks ago two babies, born at 28 and 30 weeks died. This resulted in fears that there was an outbreak of Klebsiella.

But Nkosi said they had now concluded that the two babies were born prematurely and had been in hospital for a prolonged period of time receiving multiple antibiotics.

Fears that the death of the two babies could be linked to the deadly bacteria comes five months after nine babies were infected with Klebsiella in the same ward. Five of them died while two survived.

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang made an urgent visit to the hospital to investigate the situation at the time.

She said then that the families of the five babies would not be formally compensated for the loss, but would be assisted. Lack of staff and overcrowding were blamed for the outbreak at the time.