SENIOR doctors moved to allay fears last night after two babies caught the MRSA superbug.

One of the children who caught the bug at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, has now gone home.

A second remains in hospital, although only because it was born prematurely.

Doctors say neither baby has an active infection and was only found to be carrying the germ.

Professor Mike Bramble, medical director for the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are monitoring the baby still in hospital very carefully, just in case it gets into the bloodstream."

The germ, which is usually spread by unwashed hands, was found on the babies during routine monitoring.

Prof Bramble said measures were being taken to tackle the outbreak.

He said: "We feel we are doing everything we can to prevent it spreading, we have implemented very rigorous procedures. The Friarage is still a very safe place to have your baby. This is the first time we have ever had MRSA on the neonatal unit."

He described the bug as an inevitable consequence of using antibiotics. Measures to prevent the germ spreading include ensuring staff, patients and visitors wash their hands more often.

Last month, three children were found to have MRSA on Tyneside, prompting an inquiry.