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Update on Increased Incidence of Serratia Marcescens

Friday, November 6, 2015

There are currently three babies remaining in the Neonatal Unit of the maternity unit linked to the Royal Hospital for Children who are colonised with Serratia marcescens. No new cases have been identified. 

Colonisation is where bacteria are present on or in the body, but are causing no harm and none of the babies are giving any cause for concern. 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Public Health Protection Unit and Infection Control Team continue to investigate following an increased incidence of serratia marcescens in the unit. 

Alan Mathers, Chief of Medicine for Women and Children's Services, said: "None of the three babies remaining in the unit who are colonised are giving cause for concern as a result of the colonisation.

"Serratia marcescens can be naturally occurring in the gut and its presence on or in the body (colonisation) is not harmful in healthy people.

"However given the vulnerability of premature babies, Serratia marcescens infections, where the colonised bacteria gets into the bloodstream, can occur. 

“Since the increase in incidence of Serratia marcescens colonisation cases was indentified as part of our routine surveillance we have been closely monitoring the situation in line with national guidance. 

“Given that there are no other cases of infection and that all the appropriate infection control procedures are in place the unit will continue to admit new patients as normal.” 

Nine babies, who are no longer in the hospital, were confirmed as having Serratia marcescens colonisation during this time. 

Not all the cases involve the same strain of the organism and investigations to establish any links are continuing. 

There have been no other cases of Serratia marcescens infections. 

Given that there are no other cases on Serratia marcescens infection and that all the appropriate infection control procedures are in place the unit will continue to admit new patients.

ENDS 

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email press.[email protected] 

Notes to Editors

As part of our routine surveillance we identified a small increase in Serratia marcescens colonisation cases in July and we have been closely monitoring all colonisation cases since then. All appropriate infection control procedures are in place and the situation continues to be monitored closely. 

Serratia marcescens colonisation in settings such as this is a recognised UK wide occurrence which is why we screen for it proactively. 

Given that there are no other cases on Serratia marcescens infection and that all the appropriate infection control procedures are in place the unit will continue to admit new patients.

About the neonatal unit

The neonatal unit opened in 2009 as part of the redevelopment of the former Southern General Maternity Unit.

Where is Serratia marcescens found?

The bacteria commonly exists in the gastrointestinal tract of children. 

It's is also found outside the body within the general environment.

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