‘At least four’ babies contract MRSA at Danish hospital

Several cases of infections related to the MRSA bacterium were reported at a neonatal ward at Aalborg University Hospital on Tuesday.

'At least four' babies contract MRSA at Danish hospital
Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix Denmark

At least four newborn babies are reported to have been infected by the bacterium at the hospital's neonatal ward for prematurely born infants, head of department Consultant Pia Sønderby Christensen told Ritzau.

20 patients at the hospital are currently undergoing tests to detect the presence of the bug, with a similar number of recently discharged patients also recalled.

The hospital is now testing newborn babies and parents that have been at the hospital since late February, along with staff, in an effort to track down the source of the bacteria.

“MRSA infections can be treated with antibiotics, so parents needn't be worried.

“It does not commonly give rise to illness, and the bacteria can be treated if symptoms exist,” Christensen said.

The consultant said she expected further infections to be uncovered.

“We currently do not have an overview of how many children are affected. But we are currently investigating this,” she said.

“We are isolating the infected children with their families. So we are separating the department between those with the bacteria and those who do not have it,” the doctor added.

Christensen also said that of the four children in which infection had been found, one had been treated for a skin infection and was now cured.

The remaining three children did not show any symptoms.

“But we expect to find more infected children, since that's often how it is with outbreaks like this. It passes easily between newborn babies,” she said.

READ ALSO: MRSA cases in Denmark doubled in one year


Denmark’s piglet killing causes anger in Sweden

Swedes have hit out after it emerged that hundreds of thousands of underweight piglets are killed every year in Denmark by banging their heads against the floor.

Denmark's piglet killing causes anger in Sweden
Photo: Bryan Ledgard/Flickr
Hans Aarestrup, head of the Danish organization for swine producers, Danske Svineproducenter, told Swedish Radio’s news programme Ekot on Monday that about half a million piglets are killed every year for "humane" reasons.
“Instead of waiting for the weakest pigs to die, we kill them. The most humane way is to grab them by their hind legs and hit them on the floor,” he said.
In the latest edition of Danske Svineproducenter’s magazine, they estimate that a farm with one thousand sows could save half a million kroner a year if they put down all newborn pigs weighing less than a kilo, under the headline “Could it be a win-win situation to kill pigs at birth?”.
“I think it could be a win-win,” Aarestrup told Ekot.
The news has stirred debate in Sweden, with some taking to social media to voice their criticism. The editor of a Swedish food magazine tweeted: "If you need another reason to boycott Danish pig, it's being served up here…"
Margareta Åberg, pig expert for the Federation of Swedish Farmers, told The Local's team in Stockholm that the procedure could not happen in Sweden.
“We only put down pigs if they are so ill that they cannot be cured. The goal is always that as many of them as possible should survive,” she said.
It is not the first time Danish meat production has come under fire in Sweden. In November, a random sampling of pork in supermarkets found high amounts of the resistant MRSA bacteria in meat imported from Denmark and Germany.
Denmark’s pork industry has also been criticized in Norway, where that country’s largest retailer said it might drop all imports of Danish pork due to MRSA concerns.