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Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 11:02 UK

Izmir babies died 'of infection'

A coffin of one of the 13 babies who died in Izmir, Turkey
The deaths happened at Izmir's Tepecik hospital

A bacterial infection is believed be behind the deaths of 13 newborn babies at a hospital in Turkey at the weekend, doctors say.

They say initial blood tests have found traces of the infection in five of the dead babies at the state hospital in the western city of Izmir.

The infection appears to have been spread through the intravenous drip fluid used to feed the infants.

All the babies were born premature and classed as high-risk.

'Accident'

A team of doctors specialising in infections and newborn care began inspecting Izmir's Tepecik hospital on Monday.

Map

They now say that their initial analysis of blood samples from five of the dead infants have established the presence of a bacterial infection.

They say that intravenous (IV) fluid could have been the source of infection.

A neo-natal specialist told the BBC that IV fluid could easily be contaminated if it was not prepared in sterile conditions.

At the same time, the inspectors say that the hospital was fully staffed and well-equipped.

They also stress that most of the babies were born at least nine weeks prematurely and weighed less than 1kg (2.2lb).

One expert has described the deaths as an "accident", while another pointed out that hospital infections were a problem in all countries, including the developed ones.

It is the second such case in recent months in Turkey.

In July, 27 newborn babies died over 15 days at a state hospital in the capital Ankara.

The Ankara hospital said the deaths were caused by hypertension, heart failure and complications at birth.

But trade unions blamed an infection they said was linked to poor sanitary conditions.


SEE ALSO
Baby deaths in Turkish hospital
22 Sep 08 |  Europe


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