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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 17:03 GMT
MRSA found on six newborn babies
Generic picture of a baby's feet
Six infants were isolated after the bug was discovered
Six babies in a neonatal unit have tested positive for the super bug MRSA, a health trust has confirmed.

The children were found to have methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on a ward at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Letters were sent to the youngsters' parents and the affected children were put into isolation.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said tests showed the babies had the bug on their skin, but were not "infected".

Baby Alistair Purves was found to be infected with the bug after his parents noticed a discharge around his eyes.

In their statement the trust said Alistair was one of six babies on the LGI neonatal unit who had a positive eye swab for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

This represents skin colonisation - it does not mean infection.

Most babies who carry MRSA will not be affected by it - the bacteria simply lives on their skin or in their bowel
Prof Malcolm Levene

The trust added that all of the infants, including Alistair, had been isolated in line with their infection control policy.

A one-off screening of all babies on the unit had taken place and infection control and hand hygiene procedures had been enhanced, it said.

Consultant neonatologist Professor Malcolm Levene said: "We have screened all the babies within the unit as a precaution and have written to parents to reassure them.

"Most babies who carry MRSA will not be affected by it - the bacteria simply lives on their skin or in their bowel.

"If we do find a baby with a positive result they are to be managed using daily antiseptic baths and a cream for the inside of their nose for five days in line with standard management practices.

"They may also either be nursed in a separate area or in an incubator to prevent spread to other babies."

Sharon Purvis says nurses failed to wash their hands

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