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Across England, three more cases of blood poisoning have been linked to a batch of intravenous fluid feed given to babies - have been identified.
Public Health England (PHE) said a batch of the food supplement was "strongly linked'"to the death of one baby in London and the illness of 14 others.
This afternoon (Thursday) PHE say they've identified three further cases of septicaemia in babies being treated in neonatal units in hospitals in England (Peterborough and Essex) bringing the total number of cases to 18.
The PHE say: "The babies, who became unwell last week, are responding to antibiotic treatment. One case was confirmed at Peterborough City Hospital and two probable cases have been identified at Southend University Hospital and Basildon University Hospital."
The manufacturer ITH Pharma have said "The suspected contamination has been traced to a 'sourced single raw material ingredient' " but they would not be drawn on details of the material it received from one of its suppliers.
Last night (Wednesday) 13 cases were identified, including 2 at the Luton & Dunstable hospital.
At the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, a spokesman said: "The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital has withdrawn a manufactured batch of intravenous liquid called parenteral nutrition following the infection of two babies with Bacillus cereus. Parenteral nutrition is a specialised form of liquid food that is given directly into the blood stream by an intravenous tube.
The L&D Hospital identified this bacterium and commenced appropriate antibiotic treatment in the affected babies. The L&D Hospital was alerted by Public Health England to the potential link between the infection with parenteral nutrition following similar cases in other hospitals. The company has since recalled specific batches of the feed. Public Health England and the MHRA ( Regulating medicines and Medical Devices) are continuing to assess the situation and advising hospitals of action to take.
Dr Jennifer Birch, L&D’s Clinical Director for Neonatal Intensive care (NICU), said, “We are informing all of the parents whose babies are being cared for in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit about this situation. We are reassuring them that the infection does not spread from baby to baby. The two babies who have been infected are being treated with antibiotics and we are using an alternative type of parenteral nutrition.”
Bacillus cereus is a bacteria found widely in the environment in dust, soil and vegetation. Most surfaces would be likely to test positive for the presence of the bacteria. Bacillus cereus produces very hardy spores and in the right conditions these will grow. The spores can produce a toxin which causes illness."
Lister Hospital in Stevenage say two babies have been fed with the faulty batch of iv drip feed but have NOT contracted any infection.
The NHS trust running Watford hospital say no babies have been affected as far as they are aware.
Staff at neo-natal units at Kettering General Hospital, the Northampton General Hospital, Milton Keynes and Bedford Hospitals have all told Heart they are not affected by the issue.