Outbreak of antibiotic-resistant infection at neo-natal intensive care unit in one of country’s busiest maternity hospitals last year

Eight babies at one of the country’s busiest maternity hospitals developed a potentially dangerous infection that is resistant to multiple antibiotics.

The outbreak of S.capitis at the Rotunda Hospital meant the infants had to be isolated or nursed with strict contact precautions in the neo-natal intensive care unit.

Results showed that the eight infections, all discovered last year, were related and were likely due to “cross transmission”.

In an internal report, the Rotunda said dealing with the outbreak had been challenging due to “staffing and infrastructural deficits” at the hospital.

It said the “opportunistic pathogen” had been identified as a cause of infection in maternity and paediatric hospitals in France, the UK, Belgium, and Australia.

The report said it was resistant to “multiple antibiotics” and that babies infected needed to be treated with an “adequate spectrum of activity” to deal with it.

The Rotunda alerted neighbouring maternity and paediatric hospitals asking them to review old samples to see if the infection was present.

It said that thirty samples submitted by four different hospitals – three in Dublin and one in Munster – had “revealed relatedness between isolates from different hospitals”.

The report said it appeared the S.capitis clone was “endemic” in neo-natal units but that the origin of it was still unknown.

“The clone identified is not the [type] reported elsewhere, but appears to be a predominant Irish clone which will require more extensive studies,” it added.