tembisa hospital CRE

Photo: YouTube screenshot

Tembisa Hospital: 10 babies confirmed dead after CRE outbreak

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae – or “CRE” – is the cause of these deaths. But Tembisa Hospital officials have a lot to answer for.

tembisa hospital CRE

Photo: YouTube screenshot

The Gauteng Health Department have confirmed that 10 newborns have lost their lives since November 2019, due to an outbreak of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae – otherwise known as CRE.

How 10 babies died at Tembisa Hospital in two months

A statement released on Monday explained that the babies succumbed to the infection over a two month period, with figures available until 31 December 2019. The 44-bed neo-natal unit is often overcrowded, and staff have previously complained about their working conditions here:

“We can confirm that 17 cases of CRE bacteraemia were reported during 1 November to 31 December which sadly resulted in the deaths of 10 babies.”

“It was suspected that the organism responsible for this outbreak was Klebsiella pneumonia.They can cause deadly infections in your bloodstream, lungs and urinary tract, including pneumonia and meningitis.”

Gauteng Health Department statement on Tembisa Hospital

What is CRE bacteria, or “Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae”?

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is the name given to the bacteria which can resist the effects of antibiotics. This disease is able to produce enzymes which successfully disable the drug itself. It’s believed that half of all patients who contract CRE die as a result.

The bacteria tends to thrive in care facilities. If medical equipment isn’t cleaned properly, it can be a breeding ground for CRE. The infection is viral and it can be passed from person to person. In a place like Tembisa Hospital, the disease doesn’t have far to travel before it claims a victim.

Tembisa Hospital: Who is most likely to be killed by CRE?

Those most likely to be affected are female, and patients who have been on a drip or those using breathing apparatus during a stay in hospital become more vulnerable to CRE. In fact, people receiving sustained medical treatment increase their risk of getting a form of this disease as time goes on.

  • We’ll have more developments on this story as they come through.