Bug may have killed infants

Doctors at the Alexandra State Hospital in Athens were yesterday unable to rule out a link between the death of two infants in the intensive-care unit of its maternity ward on October 7 and the outbreak of a potentially harmful infection among a group of infants on the same day. According to doctors, tests conducted on the remaining infants in the maternity ward – which was closed for three days for disinfection after the deaths – determined that 12 of them were carrying the Serratia bacteria – a germ known to cause urinary tract infections, wound infections and pneumonia, and which thrives in hospitals. The doctors said they believed that the deaths of the two infants had probably been due to natural causes, as many of the babies treated in the ward are very weak due to premature birth and hence extremely sensitive to diseases. But they did not rule out the possibility that they had been infected by the bug. Outbreaks of infections such as Serratia occur from time to time at all hospitals, the doctors stressed.