2 more infant deaths reported amid bacterial outbreak at New Jersey NICU

New Jersey health officials on Nov. 27 confirmed the deaths of two premature infants linked to an outbreak of Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria in the neonatal intensive care unit at Newark, N.J.-based University Hospital, reports northjersey.com.

Here are four things to know:

1The infants contracted A. baumannii infections six weeks ago and died last week. University Hospital notified the state health department of the deaths Nov. 26.

2. In total, the hospital has reported four A. baumannii infections among infants in the NICU since Oct. 1, including one other death. Health officials noted the most recent deaths may not be directly linked to the infections, as the infants had other serious heath issues associated with their premature births.

3. Health officials investigated the hospital's NICU in early October and identified "major infection control deficiencies," including issues related to hand hygiene, personal protective equipment and cleanliness. In late October, the hospital hired a state-ordered infectious disease specialist to help with infection control practices in the NICU.

4. The health department also sent an inspection team to University Hospital Nov. 27 to investigate the facility's internal notification policies and governance related to reporting deaths during an outbreak.

"As of yesterday, the hospital's own infection control program was not aware of the deaths when contacted," the health department said in a press release.

5. A University Hospital spokesperson shared the following statement with Becker's Hospital Review:

"We have worked diligently since the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria was discovered in our neonatal intensive care unit to control the outbreak, and there have been no new cases in the NICU since October," the spokesperson said. "We continue to reinforce proper procedures and protocols with our team."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:

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