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Children’s Ward Closed Temporarily due to MRSA

Monday 10 December 2007                 “Quality and Humanity in Health”

Children’s Ward Closed Temporarily due to MRSA

The children’s ward has been temporarily closed at Southland Hospital to enable a thorough disinfection process, following the identification of a MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) positive patient and staff, said Leanne Samuel, Interim Chief Operating Officer.

Mrs Samuel said that many healthy people carry MRSA in the community without ever knowing they are carrying it and without causing harm.

“However MRSA may cause an infection in those with weakened defences – such as unwell patients in hospitals. MRSA is also resistant to many antibiotics which is why it is of concern to us when found in the hospital setting.”

Mrs Samuel said that the patient had come to Southland Hospital having been transferred from another hospital which was understood to be MRSA free. On identification of MRSA, following staff-initiated screening, the patient was immediately isolated The patient has since been discharged from hospital. 

Contact tracing to date has confirmed five staff as MRSA positive.  These staff have ceased clinical duties and have commenced MRSA clearance regimes which include body washes and application of nasal ointments.

“Following the positive identification of MRSA, we have closed the Children’s Ward to enable thorough disinfection to commence.”

“The ward closure has meant that one patient receiving care in the ward has been moved to another bed in the hospital. This patient is not MRSA positive.  Paediatric outpatient clinics, which are usually held in the children’s unit, are continuing as normal but are being held in the main outpatients department clinic area instead In the interim, all paediatric admissions to Southland Hospital will be managed in alternative wards."

“All patients and families who had been in contact with the Children’s ward during the outbreak period are also being notified and asked to come in for testing.”

“Our staff are also being extra vigilant, following vigorous hand hygiene precautions, wearing gloves and donning gowns and masks when required."

“Whilst many North Island hospitals have had MRSA outbreaks over regular periods, Southland Hospital has been clear of MRSA for several years."

“We pride ourselves on our infection control measures and for having successfully kept MRSA out of our hospital for so long. Unfortunately, MRSA has been identified and we are now taking a variety of actions to minimise it spreading or further infecting patients or staff.

Mrs Samuel said the cleaning process was expected to take around four days and would mean having to throw out a number of toys and items in the play room, which cannot be effectively disinfected.


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