Two heavily pregnant women were moved from Northern Ireland to Dublin after a deadly bacteria bug led to the deaths of three newborn babies at Royal Hospital Belfast where they were due to give birth.

Admission to the neonatal unit at the Royal is now restricted as the hospital undergoes a deep clean in an attempt to remove the pseudomonas bacteria which is particularly harmful to ill infants.

A spokesman from the Republic's Health Service Executive said maternity hospitals throughout the country are willing to give support to health authorities in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust chief executive Colm Donaghy has said they will be carrying out a full investigation into the deaths which took place on January 6, January 13 and late last Thursday night [19 Jan].

"Every baby has been screened with skin swabs, looking for any evidence of pseudomonas," he said. "It is a germ which can be on your skin and not cause any harm but with a sick patient it can cause very serious problems.

"The large area with 13 babies is being deep-cleaned and there are only three babies remaining in that room. The babies now are being moved depending on their skin swabs results."

Posted 20/01/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com