UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh reports 12 cases of MRSA bacteria | TribLIVE.com

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh reports 12 cases of MRSA bacteria

Natasha Lindstrom
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Six newborn babies and six employees at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh have tested positive for the contagious bacterial infection MRSA, hospital officials said Monday.

“The health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors is our highest priority,” UPMC spokeswoman Andrea Kunicky said in a statement. “We’re doing everything we can to care for them. UPMC always follows CDC guidelines, and isolation protocols and infection control procedures are in place.”

MRSA — short for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. It can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or direct contact with infected surfaces.

MRSA can cause serious bloodstream infections in people with an already weakened immune system or cause a skin infection in otherwise healthy people.

MRSA plagues hospitals and many individuals — including patients, health care workers, and the general public — who carry the organism and suffer no untoward effects, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease physician.

“Outbreaks in neonatal units are particularly concerning because of the fragile nature of the patients involved,” Adalja said. “It is reassuring that only one of the six patients identified is symptomatic and that UPMC is taking aggressive proactive measures.”

All of the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients were tested for MRSA. Of the six patients who tested positive, “one of those patients is potentially symptomatic,” Kunicky said.

Several staff also came forward with potential symptoms, and six have tested positive so far, officials said. They all are undergoing treatment.

“It is important to note that a portion of the population carry MRSA without ever being symptomatic,” Kunicky said. “We have several tests pending and will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

UPMC has notified the Allegheny County Health Department of the recently confirmed cases.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.