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Neonatal unit hit by fatal infection

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A Manchester hospital has closed its neonatal unit to new admissions after a baby with a rare infection died and another contracted the same condition.

The premature baby died at Salford Royal Hospital last December after developing an infection from aspergillus, a common airborne fungus which is particularly dangerous to those with weakened immune systems.

A second pre-term infant tested positive for skin aspergillus last week, prompting staff to stop admitting babies to the 19-bed neonatal unit while they investigate if the two cases are linked.

Michael Robinson, senior consultant neonatologist at the hospital, said: ‘Preterm babies are more susceptible to developing infections because of their immaturity and we continue to do all that we can to reduce these.

‘When a second infection occurred within two months of the first, we took further advice and are embarking upon a range of investigations and precautionary measures. As a temporary measure, we have closed the unit to admissions of preterm babies and are currently monitoring the situation closely,’ he added.

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