Nursery Fungal Infection Kills Three Babies

    From Fri Aug 16 19:49:20 PDT 1996
    Subject: Doctors' spatulas may spread fungus, study finds
    Organization: Copyright 1996 by Reuters
    Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 10:10:04 PDT

    LONDON (Reuter) - A fungus that lives on wooden spatulas  used by doctors as tongue depressors may endanger newborn babies in special hospital units, British doctors said Friday.

    They described an outbreak of fungal infection at Birmingham  Women's Hospital that killed three babies and forced the amputation of a fourth baby's arm, and said the source was traced to spatulas being used in that case to hold tubes to a baby's arm.

    Writing in the Lancet medical journal, Dr Simon Mitchell and  colleagues said they had never heard of this happening before. Other doctors have warned of fungal outbreaks in hospitals and say it is a growing problem as microbes such as bacteria and fungi evolve to become resistant to drugs.

    Babies could be at particular risk, Mitchell said. ``The  combination of warm, humid conditions in neonatal incubators... may favor cutaneous (skin) fungal infection and put small, sick babies at risk of infection,'' they wrote.


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