The neonatal unit at Lis Maternity Hospital of Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center has until further notice been closed to newborns because of overcrowding, the hospital announced on Monday. It currently is caring for 39 premature infants, 18 of them in intensive care, and not enough staff of room to accommodate and treat them over the weeks and months necessary to discharge them. In addition, bacteria were found in five preemies, who have to be kept in isolation to prevent the pathogens from spreading. This too, said the hospital, puts a heavier burden on the medical and nursing staff, who are giving the five a special antibiotic. The hospital informed the Health Ministry, which said it was aware of the crowding and urged pregnant women at high risk of delivering prematurely to go to other hospitals in the meantime. Overcrowding and lack of manpower in the country's neonatal premature baby units have been a chronic problem due to underfunding, and it was discussed by the State Comptroller in one of his recent reports.