Prince George’s NICU closes again after 2 babies test positive for bacteria

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s County Hospital Center is again temporarily closing its neonatal intensive care unit after two infants tested positive for the bacterium Pseudomonas, the hospital announced Wednesday.

Five infants are being transferred out of the unit.

The move comes a month after the unit reopened after being closed for nearly two months because of the presence of the potentially deadly bacterium in the unit’s water supply system.

In a statement Wednesday, the hospital said it hasn’t determined the cause for the latest bacterium presence.

The hospital closed the NICU for nearly two months starting in August after routine tests turned up Pseudomonas in three infants in the unit, which public health authorities traced to the water supply system feeding into the unit.

The bacterium, which is common in water systems, can cause severe illness and death especially in babies and people with compromised immune systems.

Hospital officials said in August the bacterium hadn’t been linked to any deaths of infants at the hospital.

Before reopening the NICU on Oct. 4, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday it scrubbed down the NICU and health authorities conducted “extensive treatment” of the water supply system.

Since reopening, the hospital said it hasn’t detected the presence of Pseudomonas in the water supply.

In the statement, the hospital said it consulted with public health authorities before deciding to temporarily close the NICU “out of an abundance of caution.”

“This is a complex epidemiological case, but our dedicated group of public health experts are working closely to determine the cause of this latest bacterium presence,” said Sherry Perkins, the chief operating officer for the Dimensions Healthcare System, in a statement. “We have concerns over the rediscovered presence within the NICU setting, but we will be relentless in researching and eliminating the bacterium however possible.”



Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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