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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 18:26 GMT
Mothers' deaths 'a coincidence'
Amy Kimmance
Amy Kimmance, 39, gave birth to a girl
The deaths of two teachers from the same infection after giving birth on the same day appear to be unconnected, said the hospital holding an inquiry.

Amy Kimmance, 39, gave birth to a girl and Jasmine Pickett, 29, gave birth to a boy at The Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester on 21 December.

But after they were discharged, Mrs Kimmance died two days later and Mrs Pickett died on 24 December.

Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust is investigating the cases.

Our investigations so far show that the maternity unit is unlikely to have been the source of these infections
Dr Kevin Stewart
The trust's medical director

A spokeswoman for the trust - which runs the hospital - said that although both women died from "complications caused by a group A streptococcal infection, their deaths appear to be coincidental and unconnected to the hospital".

She said that Mrs Kimmance developed fatal toxic shock syndrome as a result of a group A streptococcal infection while Mrs Pickett died from a sudden onset of severe pneumonia, likely to have been caused by a group A streptococcal infection.

The spokeswoman explained that group A streptococcal infections were not superbugs or hospital-acquired infections but were typically community-based and sporadic.

She added that between five and 30% of the population normally carry, but are not infected with, the streptococcus A germ.

The trust's medical director, Dr Kevin Stewart, said: "Our investigations so far show that the maternity unit is unlikely to have been the source of these infections and local women need not worry about coming to have their babies here."

Jasmine Pickett
Jasmine Pickett, 29, who gave birth to a boy, was from the Philippines

Mrs Kimmance worked as a teacher at the girl's independent school St Swithun's in Winchester.

Her husband, John Kimmance, said: "The sudden death of Amy has left a huge void not only for me and my immediate family but for a much wider group of friends and colleagues."

Mrs Pickett's husband, David, from Colden Common, said: "Jasmine was a well-loved and respected school teacher from Leyte in the Philippines.

"Jasmine has been the kind of wife and partner that most men could only dream of."

The hospital's maternity unit has remained open as there were no results directly linking it or its staff to the cause of the fatalities, the trust said.

However, "extensive swabbing" of both staff and the unit had been carried out as a precaution.

The South Central Strategic Health Authority and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Unit are supporting the investigation.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned an inquest into both deaths, added the trust.

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