The cause of the antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella infections at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus — which led to the deaths of six babies — was overcrowding‚ Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said on Sunday.
Motsoaledi said Gauteng province needs at least six more hospitals to decrease overcrowding at facilities.
The national minister and Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa told a news briefing in Vosloorus that 11 babies contracted Klebsiella since July 11. Six of these babies had died.
Motsoaledi said that the hospital would work with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital‚ which offers specialist paediatric care‚ in managing the Klebsiella outbreak.
“The decanting of these children to Nelson Mandela hospital with Charlotte Maxeke hospital will give the hospital a chance to scrub and decontaminate the neonatal wards‚” the minister was quoted as saying by the Gauteng Health Department.
Ramokgopa said the maternity ward would be decanted as well.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases‚ which is South Africa’s public health institute‚ states Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacterium that is known to cause different types of healthcare-associated infections‚ such as pneumonia‚ meningitis‚ sepsis‚ wound or surgical site infections.
“Due to their increasing resistance to a class of antibiotics known as carbapenems‚ some strains of Klebsiella bacteria can cause infections which can no longer be treated by carbepenems.
“Persons who are at risk for infections with carbapenem-resistant organisms such as Klebsiella are those who have severe illness‚ surgical patients‚ patients who stay in hospital for prolonged periods‚ persons undergoing organ or stem cell transplantation‚ persons in intensive care and those who are on mechanical ventilation‚” said the NICD.