MORE than 20 babies have been found carrying a gut bacteria in two Melbourne hospitals over the past three weeks.
The babies were found to have Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE), which can live in human intestines without causing disease, in Monash Medical Centre and Casey Hospital.
One of the babies caught the bacteria, which developed in its intestines, when it was given antibiotics.
It then spread to the other babies in Monash Health hospitals in Clayton and Berwick when they were transferred between the facility.
None of the babies became ill and some of them have been discharged and allowed to return home.
Monash Health's medical director of infection control Dr Rhonda Stuart said the gut infection was common in hospitals.
"VRE is a problem for hospitals all over the country that often develops when patients are treated for nasty infections using antibiotics," Ms Stuart said.
All the babies are well, she said, "which is good news, and staff acted quickly from the time the first baby was detected".
Each nursery bay is being isolated for disinfection as babies are discharged.
A precautionary screening at other Monash Health hospitals is being undertaken.
Ms Stuart said newly admitted babies to the hospital will not be allowed near those who may carry the organism.
"The transfer of babies between our sites and other health services has been heavily restricted," she said.