ALMOST 40 babies tested for tuberculosis after being cared for at Sunderland Royal Hospital do not have the illness, bosses today confirmed.
The Echo reported earlier this month that 41 tots who were in the neo-natal unit at the Royal earlier this year were called back to be tested for the disease.
All children were at the unit, which cares for youngsters born prematurely or with serious illnesses, between May 1 and August 7.
Symptoms of TB in babies are often less obvious than in adults, but Public Health England say the most important is a fever.
The condition is treatable with a course of antibiotics.
Chiefs at City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said today that 38 of the babies have now been tested and have been given a clean bill of health.
The trust called in clinical experts from Newcastle to help deal with the situation and medical director Ian Martin apologised for the worry parents had been caused. The families of two of the babies have now moved away from Wearside to other parts of England since they were informed of the need to be tested.
The baby belonging to a family who have been away on holiday is to be tested today.
One dad whose daughter was tested has now been given the all-clear.
The youngster was born underweight and had to stay in the Royal for treatment in the weeks following her birth. “When we got told it was a big relief,” said the parent.
“We have to take her for a jab soon, which is fine, but we still didn’t find out how this has happened, so it’s a bit worrying.”
A spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “Thirty-eight babies from the 41 originally identified have all been clinically assessed and screened and all the results are negative.
“Two babies have moved out of the area and we have liaised with their families and hospitals in their area for them to be screened locally and we should receive their results shortly.
“A third baby who was on holiday at the time of the screening clinics will be seen today and should have their results by the end of this week.
“All 38 babies were screened and their tests processed very quickly to ensure that families having attended the clinic received the outcome and results within the same week.
“As expected, all the results were negative.
“The action that was taken was purely as a precaution but we apologise to all the families concerned at what was clearly an anxious and distressing time.”