Premature baby dies at Sheba of bacterial infection

A premature baby boy who was found to be infected with Klebsiella bacteria died at Sheba Medical Center, it was reported on Monday. Born after 26 weeks of gestation, he was one of nine premature babies identified as carriers or infected in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Tel Hashomer hospital during the past month. The bacteria were found in his blood after he died.

As a result of the tragedy, the hospital decided temporarily to close the unit to other newborn premies and to isolate those carrying the bacteria from the others who were unaffected.

An additional premature infant was reported clinically to have been infected but he was in stable condition. Two other babies recovered and five more were diagnosed as being carriers.

The hospital said that when the first cases were discovered, it immediately took action by doing lab tests on all infants in the unit. Efforts were also made to prevent cross-infection. The department is in ongoing contact with the parents, the hospital said.

Klebsiella is carried in the digestive system and easily spread by contact. It can cause infection in patients with weak immune systems, including premature babies, the hospital said. Although it is developing resistance to antibiotics, there are still antibiotics that can wipe out the pathogen, and these are being used to treat the newborns, added Sheba, which informed the Health Ministry.