Mother of MRSA-infected infant at UC Irvine not told about outbreak

The mother of one of the 10 critically ill infants sickened during an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the neonatal intensive care unit at UC Irvine Medical Center said she was not informed of the outbreak when she was told of her child's illness, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

Brianna Walker told the LA Times the Orange, Calif.-based hospital staff did not tell her other infants were being treated for the same illness when she was informed of her son's MRSA infection. For a time, she believed the drug-resistant bacteria had come from a source outside the hospital. However, in retrospect, Ms. Walker believes an infant already sickened during the outbreak was placed in the room next to her son's. Her son, according to Ms. Walker, tested positive for the bacteria one week later. According to medical records cited by the LA Times, this positive test came on March 6.

Ms. Walker's comments contradict statements made by UC Irvine Medical Center to the LA Times last week. John Murray, a spokesman for the hospital, previously told the paper hospital staff had been advised to inform parents of babies sickened with MRSA of the outbreak.

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On Tuesday, according to the report, Mr. Murray said, "After speaking to several parents of neonatal intensive care unit patients, it is clear that we fell short of our goal to keep them fully informed about MRSA and our infection prevention efforts. Though this was not intentional, we deeply apologize and will do better."

All 10 infants survived the MRSA infections, though the source of the outbreak remains unknown. All infants currently in the hospital's NICU, as well as the staff caring for them, are negative for MSRA, according to Mr. Murray.

"We believe the infection prevention efforts that have been validated by state and county health officials give us the best chance to eradicate the bacteria," said Mr. Murray, according to the report.

To read the full report from the LA Times, click here.

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