Web Zap*Germs Archive

May 01, 2005

New Zealand Staph Superbug Kills Newborn & Sickens 15 Hospital Workers

In a global community, sickness spreads as quickly as communications. News comes today that in New Zealand's Wellington Hospital, six-day-old Alexandra Hunt has died of staph-induced blood poisoning.

Since the hospital realized last October it was harboring the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, some 37 infants and 15 hospital workers have been infected. Alexandra, a prematurely born baby, was the third newborn to die from staphylococcus infection.
Despite the two previous deaths caused by staphylococcus in the unit, Hunt says she was told nothing of the risk the bacterium posed to her baby.

The first she heard of staph was when the initial autopsy results came back.

"I wasn't aware of staph. It wasn't discussed - I wasn't even thinking about that sort of thing," she said. "But I would have thought they would have mentioned it."

But Hunt has no plans to take action against the hospital, saying her daughter always faced a struggle to survive and that the staff did their best. "(Laying a complaint) won't bring my baby back," she said. "I'm just hoping they can learn more from it and stop any more babies dying."

Update 03 May 2005: "Experts are confident a bacteria strain that has killed three babies at Wellington Hospital's neonatal unit has been contained."


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