Prince George’s Hospital NICU closes for second time, two more babies test positive for bacterium

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CHEVERLY, Md. -- Prince George’s Hospital Center closed its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the second time this year.  Wednesday, five infants were transferred to other area hospitals with intensive care services.  This, after two babies in the NICU tested positive for the presence of the potentially dangerous and deadly bacterium Pseudomonas.

Prince George’s Hospital recently reopened its NICU on October 4.  The initial NICU shutdown was in August, after two neonatal patients died and pseudomonas were found in the NICU’s water supply.

After transferring NICU patients out of Prince George’s Hospital in August, the hospital said it conducted a number of tests and treatment procedures including: terminal cleaning of the NICU, extensive treatment of the water supply system, and ongoing infection control measures.

Prince George’s Hospital officials it did not re-open its NICU until multiple independent test results indicated that there was no identified presence of the bacterium in the water system.

However, a month later, two more infants in the NICU tested positive for the same bacterium.

Wednesday, the hospital released a statement saying:

At this time there is no environmental indication or defined cause for the latest bacterium presence. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, PGHC today made the decision to temporarily close the NICU after collaborative consultation with public health authorities.

“Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our patients, as well as supporting the needs of our families,” said Sherry B. Perkins, PhD, RN, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dimensions Healthcare System. “This is a complex epidemiological case, but our dedicated group of public health experts are working closely to determine the cause of this latest bacterium presence. We have concerns over the rediscovered presence within the NICU setting, but we will be relentless in researching and eliminating the bacterium however possible.”

This is a developing story.