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MEC blames overcrowding for deadly bacteria outbreak at Tembisa Hospital

Seventeen cases of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have been confirmed at the hospital's neonatal unit in the past two months with 10 babies already dead.

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku. Picture: @bandilemasuku/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has blamed a bacteria outbreak at the Tembisa Hospital where 10 babies died on overcrowding.

Seventeen cases of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have been confirmed at the hospital's neonatal unit in the past two months.

CRE is a form of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and can cause deadly infections.

* Nightmare bacteria: 10 facts you need to know about CRE

Masuku said that most of the resources at the hospital's neonatal unit were stretched but the outbreak was now under control.

"It is one of the most difficult infections to treat. Currently, we are managing the seven [babies] that are still alive and we've put into place systems to ensure that the outbreak doesn't continue and that it is contained in the neonatal unit. More admissions have been diverted to Steve Biko and other surrounding neonatal units."

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that there were preventative measures that the Gauteng Health Department could take to stop the spread of CRE.

The NCID's Nelesh Govender: "Infections caused by CRE strains are difficult to treat and we recommend strict adherence to contact precautions which include isolating babies with these infections in separate cubicles."