20/07/2011

Belfast Hospitals 'Bugged'

Hospital hygiene is again in focus this week as a number of cases of the clostridium difficile (c.diff) bacterium have been identified in the South Eastern Trust area and a second case of tuberculosis has been confirmed at Belfast City Hospital.

A member of staff has contracted the same strain of TB, which infected an elderly patient earlier this year.

However, Belfast Health Trust said today that a third case of tuberculosis has been confirmed at Belfast City Hospital, but there is no proven link to the other two.

As a result, screening has been offered to 43 people who were on the same ward - ward Six North.
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Across Belfast at the The Ulster Hospital, management said there were now seven c. diff cases in total, including one c. diff 027 case at the east Belfast facility.

The trust said the cases had led to enhanced cleaning measures.

Earlier this year, an inquiry into a c. diff outbreak in the Northern Trust area concluded that it was linked to 31 deaths in 2007 and 2008.

To underline the trouble, there has also been an outbreak of the vomiting bug Novovirus at the Ulster Hospital.

The trust said up to 50 patients and staff have been affected with vomiting and diarrhoea, though these may not all be confirmed as being Norovirus.

The virus is present in four wards, but just one has been closed to new admissions because of increased incidences of vomiting and diarrhoea.

(BMcC/GK)

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