My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: 18 Jamaican babies die from Klebsiella and Serratia - How lack of Water caused UHWI and Cornwall Hospital Babies Deaths

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

18 Jamaican babies die from Klebsiella and Serratia - How lack of Water caused UHWI and Cornwall Hospital Babies Deaths

Jamaican are now in shock as to the tragedy that's unfolding in two (2) of our nations public Hospitals.

There has been an outbreak of a bacterial infection at both the University Hospital of the West Indies and the Cornwall Regional Hospital since June 2015 as reported in the article “42 infected babies at 2 hospitals; 18 dead”, published Tuesday, October 20, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.


During this period of four (4) months, the Ministry of Health as kept quiet the infection of some forty two (42) newborn babies with an illness that killed eighteen (18) babies.  We are just learning of this officially on Tuesday October 20th 2015 via the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer.

Even the foreign media has picked up the story as reported in the article “Jamaica battles hospital infections that have killed 18 babies in three months”, published Tuesday 20 October 2015 by Sandra Laville, The UK Guardian.  

Even more troubling is that the statistics weren’t revealed by the Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson. Rather it was National Epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster who revealed the information in a Powerpoint presentation. But if you really want to get technical, the news first broke light on Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley:

At the time the news broke on Nationwide News website on Friday October 16th 2015, it was not officially confirmed by the MOH (Ministry of Health) as reported in the article “Mystery Bug Killing Babies at UHWI?” published Oct 16, 2015 by Abka Fitz-Henley, Nationwide News.

But that veil of silence soon broke as medical staff got to talking to the media.....   

You can go to that tweet and read the rest, which reveals that the infection that's killing the babies is actually Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia.

It took the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer a full three (3) days to finally pick up on this and figure out that it was an infection caused Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia as reported in the article “Infectious Bacteria Blamed For 18 Baby Deaths At Two Hospitals”, published Tuesday October 20, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner

 So what has the Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson planning to do? But more interestingly, what is Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia?

18 babies die from Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia - Why lack of Water caused the Babies to die from common Bacteria

Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia are both rod-shaped bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family. Klebsiella pneumoniae was discovered by German microbiologist Edwin Klebs (1834–1913) and both bacteria love plants and animals alike, using both as  hosts and vector.

Like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), they spread by contact with bodily fluids from infected persons left on surfaces. Also, there is no known drug or active agent that can be used to treat infections caused by either bacteria.

As such, the babies most likely got infected by the doctors and nurses who carried the diseases from their homes. They themselves would show no symptoms, but in the process of interacting with the babies, they infected them i.e. Typhoid Mary type scenario.

Due to the lower than normal levels of sanitation in the hospitals cause by the lack of potable water as well as lack of constant cleaning of surface and possibly lack of changing or using latex gloves or other PPE (Personal Protective Equiptment), the Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia spread rapidly by doctors and nurses coming in contact with the babies and touching infected surfaces.

Being as the babies have a weaker immune system, they easily succumbed and died. Isolation and decontamination using disinfectants will have to be done to cleanse all surface that the Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia is growing on, waiting to infect more babies and patients with weakened immune systems.

First thing first, aside from covering up the deaths, the Minister of Health Dr., Fenton Ferguson held a meeting with SEHRA (South Easter Regional Health Authority) on Saturday October 17th 2015 as noted in Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley:

A Press Conference was then held at Jamaica House on Tuesday October 20th 2015 as noted in Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley:


As usual, he appears to be only just learning of these developments while speaking as he declared that's he's called in the Calvary from CPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) as well as from PAHO (Pan-American Health Organization), quote: “As a precautionary measure, I spoke with the executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency and they are on standby to give any assistance we may require. In addition, I have been informed that there are two additional persons coming from PAHO”.

Again, Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley confirms this:


The Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson has also confirmed that the disease was indeed Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia and that eighteen (18) babies had died, according to Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley:


So it basically has come to this; babies dying because of the negligence of the Ministry of Health to address known deficiencies in the health sector as revealed by the Health Audit in September 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “Audit of Public Health Care System revealed - How the Minister of Health plans to correct these problems”. 

Which begs the question, what was in the Health Audit? Did it include information about the Klebsiella pneumoniae and Serratia infections and deaths? Worse, did the Minister of Health know all this information all along and chose not to reveal it for fear of losing a General Election?

Diseases cause by lack of Sanitation spreading - GOJ set to lose General Election as the Blood of Babies on their hands

As a Sciences, specifically Physics Major at the MICO University College where I’m doing my Professional Diploma in Teaching, this is pretty shocking.

But I’d expected this, given the drought, which made disease spread possibly due to reduced levels of sanitation as predicted by Dr. Michael Taylor, Climatologists at the UWI as per my blog article entitled “Dr.Taylor links Climate Change to increase in Diseases in Jamaica - Dengue, Pink Eye and Zika Virus coming and Asthma rising”.

Dengue Fever and Zika Virus from Mosquito bites is still possible as the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is on the rise. But diseases related to the reduce level of sanitation, especially among children who have weaker immune systems such as Hand, Foot and Mouth disease are already starting to occur as reported in my blog article entitled “ 313 Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Jamaican Schools - Why the Coxsackie Virus thrives in a Drought”.

So this was expected as far as I was concerned, just not in so dramatic a fashion, as four (4) months is a long time to keep the death of eighteen (18) babies secret. Worse, it now appears that MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) may also be spreading within the Bustamante Hospital for Children Hospital, according to Abka Fitz-Henley Twitter account @AbkaFitzHenley:


Whatever the outcome, nothing short of the sacking of the Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson will placate Jamaicans as guaranteed, this will definitely result in them losing the upcoming General Elections, no matter what date it is called.



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