AN OUTBREAK of a potentially fatal super bug has been confirmed at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Four patients on the general admissions Ward C3 have been confirmed as suffering from C Difficile, a bacteria found in the gut that can lead to a serious and contagious infection.
The outbreak is now being blamed on the lack of personal hygiene in patients and their visitors.
Hospital bosses say they are now "in control" of the infection discovered last Wednesday, thanks to a swift decision to isolate the four patients.
Professor Sajjad Mirza, Consultant Microbiologist at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust blames the outbreak on the hospital's patients and their visitors, claiming more and more people are coming into hospital already harbouring the bacteria.
But Hyndburn Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Allah Dad says it is not enough to pass the blame to the patients and that the hospital must do more.
He said: "It is really sad to hear that this is happening on our doorsteps, but the blame cannot be solely left with the patients and their visitors.
"The hospital itself should put something in place to improve the hygiene of its users if it feels they are causing a risk.
"This is a very serious matter and action should been taken promptly to ensure every effort is made to prevent another outbreak. I hope for the patients’ sake this does not happen again."
Only two of those patients quarantined now remain in hospital.
They have been confined to a side room to prevent the infection spreading further and are said to be recovering well.
Professor Mirza, is now urging anyone visiting the hospital to pay more attention to their hygiene and wash their hands before eating and after visiting the toilet.
He said: "We have reconfigured our ways of working to make sure that isolation wards can be opened at short notice and any cases of C Difficile can be treated and isolated, so that the bacterial spores do not spread to other patients.
"C Difficile is an organism which is present in a large number of people without causing any symptoms.
"In August, we identified 11 patients who had contracted C Difficile outside hospital. We are seeing an increase in these types of infections.
"People who have the bacteria lying dormant in their gut can spread the infection to other people without becoming overtly ill themselves, or may become ill following some kinds of treatment because their defences are weakened.
"It is essential that everyone entering hospital keeps their hands scrupulously clean with soap and water especially before eating and after going to the toilet .
"By working together with patients, visitors, and our colleagues in the Primary Care Trusts, we can effectively control C Difficile."