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January 26, 2010

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18 moms infected after caesarean births

AT least 18 women have been infected with a bug after having caesarean births in a hospital suffering water shortages last fall in south China's Guangdong Province.

They were infected with nontuberculous mycobacteria, or NTM - a bug which can cause a lung disease, swollen glands and skin rashes, yesterday's Nanfang Daily newspaper reported.

Huaqiao Hospital in Gurao Town of Shantou City's Chaonan District reported the outbreak to health authorities in mid-December, but said only 11 patients were affected.

They are being treated at Dafeng Hospital, with the local government paying their medical costs.

But another seven women contacted the newspaper, saying they had to visit Huaqiao Hospital every day for treatment.

All 18 had caesarean births between late August and November, according to the newspaper.

Medical experts suggest the NTM infection could have been caused by tainted facilities during the operation.

Patients agreed sanitation in the hospital was not good during last autumn's drought, when water was available for only half an hour each day in October and was yellowish.

The women were asked to provide their own drinking water, they told the newspaper.

The hospital is still offering delivery services, but only for natural births, the paper said.

The 11 patients in hospital told the newspaper they hadn't seen much improvement after nearly one month's treatment.

Guo Ke, vice director of Chaoyang District Health Bureau, said the slow recovery was to be expected, because NTM infection was hard to treat.

Guo said it usually took at least three months for patients to make a full recovery.


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