Concerns Escalate After 10 Newborns Contract MRSA At UCI Irvine Hospital

ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — One of the largest hospitals in Orange County is trying to address concerns over a dangerous outbreak that infected 10 at-risk newborns.

CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom reports 10 babies within UC Irvine Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) contracted the superbug MRSA — a bacteria that is antibiotic resistant, which makes it hard to treat — during an eight-month period, but the public is just finding out about it now.

Contracting the superbug is a huge concern for babies who are already critically ill and have undeveloped immune systems.

Officials stress that none of the sick infants died and were successfully treated.

The question remains if the hospital should have alerted more people.

Hospital officials say parents going into the NICU were notified, and that they alerted the county back in August when the outbreak began.

The county health department signed off on a plan, but the state said it was not aware until it got a recent complaint. State officials partially substantiated the complaint, but found no violation.

According to health officials, there has been clusters of MRSA at NICU units in other hospitals. They did not believe that public notification was needed because they did not have evidence to show that infants at UC Irvine were at a higher risk for the infection than those who were admitted elsewhere.

The hospital says it is now taking a number of precautions, including repeated deep cleanings and testings of all infants who are hospitalized for MRSA.

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