KwaZulu-Natal health spokesperson Leon Mbanjwa said that five babies were confirmed to have died from the deadly bacteria at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Durban's Umlazi area. Details on the deaths at the 922-bed hospital were not immediately available. Mbanjwa said an investigation into the possible outbreak of klebsiella was ordered on 21 November.
In a statement, he said that although the investigation has not been completed, the task team led by Professor Prashini Moodley of the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, identified the source of the infection as being contaminated intravenous medication. The infectious source has been removed and the surviving babies are now doing well, he said. Mbanjwa said measures to combat further outbreaks had been put in place. He said overcrowding and insufficient staffing levels were also to blame for the failure in infection control measure.
In 2005 a klebsiella outbreak at Durban's Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital claimed the lives of 22 newborn babies. A subsequent investigation revealed that the outbreak was linked to a failure of infection control measures. A previous report by Nelson Mandela School of Medicine's Professor Willem Sturm, who led the task team to investigate the 2005 outbreak, attributed the outbreak to insufficient hand-washing by Neonatal Intensive Care Unit staff. The contamination was caused by the multiple use of intravenous bottles to administer Vamin-Glucose.