Another baby is being treated for an infection which has killed three newborns at a hospital in Belfast as staff carry out a deep clean of the neonatal unit.
A bacteria called pseudomonas caused the deaths at the city’s Royal Maternity Hospital.
Health officials in Northern Ireland said four other babies were found to have the infection in the neonatal unit.
One is currently undergoing treatment, two have been treated and have already recovered, while the fourth made a recovery from pseudomonas but subsequently died of unrelated causes.
The bacteria can cause infections in the chest, blood and urinary tract.
A spokeswoman said the baby still undergoing treatment was doing well.
Other vulnerable babies have been swabbed for signs of the infection, while a helpline has been set up for worried relatives.
The hospital’s maternity unit is being deep-cleaned
As an investigation into the source of the infection continues, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said it believed the situation was under control.
The neonatal room at the Royal has been emptied following the outbreak and is being cleaned over the weekend.
Meanwhile, officials have revealed that a different – and apparently unlinked – strain of the infection claimed the life of another baby in Altnagelvin hospital in Londonderry last month.
Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots said urged people to “remain calm”.
“The infection control team is now in the process of trying to identify the source of the infection and our health and social care system is in a good position to make sure all babies receive the neonatal care they require,” he said.
Apart from the neonatal unit, which cares for extremely premature and small infants, all other services at the Royal Maternity Hospital are operating as normal and expectant mothers are being advised to attend their appointments as scheduled.
Pseudomonas, which can be carried on patients’ skin, is treated with an antibiotic but the third baby died despite the treatment.
The first death was on January 6, the second on January 13 and the third on Thursday.
:: Any worried relatives can call a special helpline on 02890 635389.