Prince George's Hospital Center NICU to Reopen After Bacteria Found in Pipes

The Prince George's Hospital Center is reopening its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) Tuesday, nearly two months after a potentially deadly bacteria was found in the hospital's water system. 

The NICU was closed Aug. 10 after three babies tested positive for bacterium psuedomonoas. Nine infants were also moved out of the NICU to Children's National Medical System in Washington, D.C. The hospital said they have completed the work necessary to ensure the NICU is safe to open Tuesday.

"State authorities identified some deficiencies relates to policies and performance improvement processes in the NICU," said Dr. Sherry Perkins, who has been overseeing the hospital response to the situation.

Bacterium pseudomonas were found in six sinks in the hospital, including four sinks in the NICU, officials said during a news conference Friday. Those sinks have since been removed and treated.

"As a result, our hospital will have increased reporting requirements to state regulators. Our NICU will also remain at a Level III designation, which will allow us to continue to provide services to very ill newborns as the county's only NICU."

Pseudomonas bacteria often can be transmitted through water, hospital officials said.

Pseudomonas infections can cause ear infections, skin rashes and mild illnesses in healthy people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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But the infections can cause severe illness or death in people with weakened immune systems, the CDC said. About 400 deaths per year are attributed to drug-resistant pseudomonas infections, the CDC said in a 2013 report.

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