JOHANNESBURG-- A bacterium known as Klebsiella pneumoniae has claimed the lives of six babies in South Africa, according to the Health Department of Gauteng Province.

Klebsiella infection is a common neo-natal infection which affects babies in low and middle income countries like South Africa. It is known to cause different types of healthcare-associated infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, wound or surgical site infections.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Province Executive Councillor for Health Gwen Ramokgopa said the outbreak at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus, about 30 kilometres south of here, had been found to be drug-resistant.

According to an interim report by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), it was found that infection control measures were compromised because of overcrowding. Extreme overcrowding creates conditions for the infection to take place and spread," the Minister said.

The issue of overcrowding is of particular concern because all neo-natal wards in the province were found to be overcrowded, on average at 132 per cent bed utilization. In this hospital, the NICD found that there were 90 neonates in a 61-bed capacity unit. Obviously, we cannot turn any patient away because of overcrowding."


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