29 de mai de 2014

Some UAB patients who tested positive for legionella bacteria released from hospital

BIRMINGHAM, AL -Some UAB patients who tested positive for legionella bacteria have been released from the hospital.

UAB says eight patients tested positive for the bacteria in the hematology-oncology unit.

Two patients died, but the cause of death for those two patients has not yet been determined.


 Legionella can cause a severe form of pneumonia. 

According to the CDC, the bacteria that causes the illness typically travels by water.

Dr. Loring Rue, UAB chief patient safety officer, couldn't release much information because of confidentiality, but says some patients who tested positive for the bacteria have been released.

He says others are still undergoing chemotherapy.

As we've reported, Dr. Rue says UAB flushed its water system to eliminate bacteria and installed filters on faucets in the affected areas.

In the meantime, UAB is awaiting test results to confirm legionella is out of the system.

"We've put these filters in place that will obviously reduce the risk of exposure. If again, the cultures come back negative on Friday, then we feel pretty confident that this has been... We feel pretty confident that it's been eliminated now, but this will be our confirmation of that," said Dr. Rue.

The Jefferson County Health Department held a news conference to address legionella bacteria. 

Officials talked about the symptoms people should look out for including a high fever, coughing and shortness of breathe. 

In a statement, UAB said, "We will continue to make the safety of patients, staff and visitors our primary concern and communicate throughout this process."

Here is the statement released from UAB about the bacteria cases:

"It is important to note that the water system that provides water to the hematology/oncology unit serves only floors 5-7 in the Women and Infant building and no other areas of the hospital (5 is not a patient care floor in WIC). You can attribute this to Loring Rue, M.D., Chief Patient Safety and Clinical Effectiveness Officer:

UAB Hospital has lifted most of the water restrictions it implemented in a limited area of the hospital late Saturday. Those precautionary measures were implemented out of an abundance of caution pending final results of tests after eight patients on one unit - hematology/oncology - tested positive for legionella, a bacteria that can cause a form of pneumonia called legionellosis.

We took proper actions to address the presence of legionella and installed special filters on shower and faucet heads, flushed the water system, and shocked it with extreme temperatures, to ensure safe use. We have consulted with public health authorities including local and state departments of health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and implemented these measures pursuant to proposed guidelines of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) commonly followed in the U.S. and referred to by the CDC. We have no knowledge of new infections contracted after our remediation efforts.

Until we receive the test results that confirm these steps addressed the presence of legionella, we have asked that patients wear masks when flushing the toilet. Although the initial water restriction limited sink and shower use, that has been addressed by the filters.

Two patients who were on the unit prior to the remediation of the water system and tested positive for legionella, have died. The causes of their deaths have not been determined. We only know that in addition to their original illness the patients tested positive for legionella.

Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in hot tubs, hot water tanks and large plumbing systems common in office buildings, schools, hotels and hospitals. Most people are exposed to legionella regularly and do not contract legionellosis. People with weak immune systems are more susceptible to legionellosis. According to the CDC, most cases of legionellosis can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

We will continue to make the safety of patients, staff and visitors our primary concern and communicate throughout this process."



Este problema existe no Brasil, estima-se que mais de 5.000 pessoas possam ir a óbito provocado pela Legionella (pnuemonia). Não só em hospitais, podemos ser contaminados em vários locais.
Saiba mais sobre a Legionella no site www.legionellaespecialistas.com.br

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