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article imageTen infants in Calif. neonatal ICU tested positive for superbug

By Karen Graham     Apr 15, 2017 in Health
Irvine - County and hospital officials are investigating how 10 infants in a neonatal intensive care unit all tested positive for the same strain of a dangerous superbug at the University of California Irvine Medical Center.
On Thursday, UC Irvine Medical Center was left defending their handling of the outbreak of the dangerous bacteria, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), reports CBS Los Angeles.
The infants were reported to have tested positive for the same strain of MSRA between August 2016 and March 2017, according to a statement sent to ABC News by UC Irvine Medical Center. All the infants were treated successfully and there were no deaths after the bacteria was detected.
Marian Hollingsworth, a member of the state’s Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Committee, filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health in August. She voiced her alarm over the hospital and county health authorities not informing the public immediately when the first case was found.
“I’m a mom of four. I’ll be outraged if no one told me,” Hollingsworth said. “I think hospitals have a lot to learn yet about infection control, and everyone needs to be on it to help prevent it.”
UC Irvine Hospital at twilight.
UC Irvine Hospital at twilight.
University of California, Irvine - School of Medicine
However, hospital spokesman John Murray said suggesting the hospital was not forthcoming with information was "completely untrue," nor did the hospital believe the outbreak was a public health threat.
“We were working with Orange County health officials since August and informed the California Department of Public Health. Both agencies reviewed our infection prevention plans and signed off on our efforts,” Murray explained.
MRSA bacteria occur naturally in nature and about two out of every 100 people carry the bacteria, either on the skin or in their noses. MRSA is notorious for spreading quickly in healthcare settings where it is easily transferred from contaminated wounds to other patients via healthcare workers, according to the CDC.
FURTHER READING: New survey examines spread of hospital pathogens
In February this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared MRSA one of the 12 families of bacteria that “pose the greatest threat to human health." WHO called on nations to do more research and development in producing antibiotics to rid patients of the so-called superbugs.
To date, no source for the MRSA outbreak has been found. "Its presence on a person does not necessarily cause illness and, as in this case, it’s not always possible to find the source," UC Irvine said in the statement to ABC News.
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