Infants' deaths laid to bacteria in Miami hospital's water supply

MIAMI — Two infants who died and one who was sickened at Miami Children's Hospital in March were infected with a common yet deadly bacteria, a county health department investigation concluded Wednesday.

The infections occurred in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where premature and severely ill infants are cared for.

The Miami-Dade Health Department report traced the bacteria, Psudomonas aeruginosa, to the unit's water supply, and said the hospital lacked policies for routine inspections of plumbing, did not systematically flush the system and didn't take part in the county's twice-yearly free chlorine purge program that is aimed at cutting such infections.

The bacteria is widespread in nature and found in water, soil, plants and animals, and can be deadly to infants with compromised immune systems. The two who died and one who was sickened all were born extremely prematurely.

The bacteria's spread in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was wider than initially reported, infecting 14 of 36 infants, although none besides the three became ill, the report said.

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