Hospital shut after babies diagnosed with superbug

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Romanian health authorities on Friday temporarily closed a maternity hospital in the capital after 13 babies born there recently were diagnosed with a drug-resistant superbug.

The Health Ministry said the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest would stop admissions after the newborns were diagnosed with antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The hospital said it had canceled dozens of cesarean section operations planned for next week and will be directing pregnant women needing the procedure to other public hospitals in the city.

The ministry said 17 babies from Giulesti had recently been admitted to the Grigore Alexandrescu children's hospital, where tests were being carried out to determine what was wrong with them.

The ministry said Giulesti's maternity wards would be closed for cleaning and disinfection.

The Public Health Directorate said 11 hospital employees found to be carriers of the bacteria have been temporarily removed from the hospital to undergo treatment.

The bacteria often live on the skin or in the nostrils without causing symptoms but they can become dangerous if they enter the bloodstream, destroying heart valves or causing other damage.

Microbiologists say up to 30 percent of humans are long-term carriers of the bug.