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MRSA Outbreak Affects Babies At Sutter Memorial

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – An infection outbreak has forced some babies to be moved from a Sacramento hospital to Roseville.

We’re talking about MRSA – a strain of staph bacteria so tough to treat it’s sometimes called a “super bug.”

Dozens of infants at Sutter Memorial were exposed, though only a few are infected right now.

The mother of one of those infected babies is demanding to know how it happened.

He already faced a battle, born at 31 weeks, a tiny 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Just days later – to his mom’s shock – Sutter Memorial diagnosed him with MRSA.

“I just think for them not to be able to tell my baby how he got MRSA is not OK,” she said. “They’re the hospital, they should have answers. They’re the one taking care of him.”

Doctors at Sacramento’s so-called “baby hospital” say two infants in the neo-natal ICU are infected. Twenty more have been colonized with MRSA. In other words, the highly contagious bacteria is on their skin but hasn’t turned into an infection.

The outbreak dates back two weeks.

“We’re trying to stop the spread of this right now,” Sutter Memorial’s Dr. Richard DeFelice.

Sutter Memorial shifted several babies to Sutter Roseville. They’re also cleaning beds and handrails multiple times a day instead of once. Families are urged to bring fewer people to visit the unit to reduce the risk of spread.

“We have not as I remember had this number of babies colonized,” he said. “It’s hard to tell that (the cause of the increase). Don’t know.”

He says it could be as simple as someone not washing their hands.

The two confirmed cases are said to be minor, non-life threatening infections. Still, parents have been warned their babies could be contagious even after they leave the hospital.

“They said he can’t go to the park, I shouldn’t take him to the park,” the mother said.

That mom says she is considering legal action against the hospital. Meanwhile, Sutter Memorial officials say they have control over the outbreak and they’ll continue to monitor it closely.

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