Two premature babies died after being infected with the bloodstream in a Glasgow hospital.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed that they had originally investigated three cases in the infant department at the Royal Maternity Hospital of the Princess.
But it said that two “extremely premature” babies have since died, and the infection was “one of many causes” in both deaths.
The third premature baby needs treatment and is in a stable condition.
The NHSGGC confirmed that the incident management team was established on January 24 after the discovery of the staphylococcus aureus bacterium.
Dr. Barbara Weinhardt, Infection Control Doctor, said: “We are thinking about affected families.
“The results confirmed that the three cases of Staphylococcus aureus are related, and our research continues to figure out how they are related.
"Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is found on the skin and in the nasal passage in about one in four people and causes infection only when ingested."
Dr. Weinhardt said that in cases where people were vulnerable to infection, it could cause a serious infection.
She added: “We have taken a series of control measures in the department, including deep cleaning, isolation and care of the barrier, safety instructions for all staff and infection control tips for all visitors.”
What is an infection?
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is usually found on the skin and mucous membrane — moist tissues that line certain parts of the inside of the human body — without any problems.
But it can also cause illness, especially if bacteria can enter the body, for example, through damaged skin or as a result of a medical procedure.
If bacteria enter the body, diseases can develop from the lungs to life-threatening ones.
These include skin and wound infections, infected eczema, abscesses or infections of the joints, heart valve infections, pneumonia, and bacteremia (infection of the bloodstream).
Most strains of Staphylococcus aureus are susceptible to more commonly used antibiotics, and infections can be effectively treated.
Source: UK Government Leadership
Dr. Alan Mathers, head of the medical, women's and children's services, said that the national leadership states that an investigation should be initiated when two or more cases of the same type of bacteria are detected.
In this case, an incident management team meeting was convened last Thursday.
Dr. Mathers added: “IMT began investigating possible links between the three cases and sent samples for testing.
“While these results were expected, we talked to the affected families, together with the parents in the department and the staff, so that they would learn about our investigations.”
“The results obtained today confirmed the connection between the three cases.
“Our infection control team continues to work closely with clinical colleagues and domestic staff to manage the situation and take all necessary measures to ensure patient safety.”
Princess Royal Maternity Hospital is located on the Alexandra Parade, next to the Glasgow Royal Hospital.
The Incident Management team includes clinicians, infectious disease physicians and nurses, occupational health specialists, and employees of institutions and agencies.
"Heartbreaking and tragic"
Health Minister Jin Freeman said: “I think of the families affected at this time.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have talked with these families, as well as with other families in the department and with the support of the Scottish Health Ministry, are taking the necessary steps to ensure patient safety.
“The Health Department continues to receive support from Health Protection Scotland, and its infection control team works closely with clinical and home staff to manage the situation.”
The NHSGGC is also awaiting the results of a separate investigation into the death of two patients at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow after they contracted an infection associated with pigeon droppings.
On Tuesday, the crown office confirmed that it was considering the death of a 73-year-old woman in a hospital worth 842 million pounds sterling earlier this month.
Prosecutors have already investigated the death of a 10-year-old boy in December.
Commenting on the new investigation, Secretary of the Scottish Conservative Ministry of Health, Miles Briggs said: "This is a desperately tragic story, and now people will be asking serious questions about infection control in hospitals."
"Recently, in such circumstances, four deaths have occurred, and it is time for the SNP government to cope with this situation."
“We express our sympathy to families who have experienced an unimaginable injury.
“Staff, patients and families need vital support urgently.”
Labor MSP Monica Lennon added: “This is extremely heartbreaking and tragic.
“My thoughts go to the families of these children, who will be absolutely devastated.
“Shortly after the death of patients at the University Hospital. Queens of Elizabeth people will question the infection control standards in hospitals in Glasgow and throughout the country. ”
"The Minister of Health should urgently ensure the assurances of the needs of society."