2 Legionnaires’ disease cases reported at Seattle hospital, 1 resulting in death – KIRO Seattle

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Aug 25 2017

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated: Aug 25, 2017 - 5:43 PM

Two patients have developed Legionella pneumonia while being treated at University of Washington Medical Center, and a third patient is believed to have acquiredLegionellaoutside the hospital, medical director of the UW Medical Center Dr. TomStaigersaid at a news conference Friday.

One of the patients who contracted the disease at UWMC, a woman, has died. Hospital officials say the woman had multiple underlying conditions in addition to the severe kind of pneumonia she acquired.

The other patient, a man, is currently being treated at the hospital, as is the man who got the disease in the community.

Patients in the Cascade Tower are not allowed use sinks or showers and are being provided bottled water for drinking.

Tammee Ryan, whose son is staying in the tower after a stem cell transplant for leukemia, contacted KIRO 7 with photos of the warnings. She said her son is on immunosuppressant medication.

It's a very difficult time for us right now and Im extremely concerned for his safety, she said.

Ryan said that while a nurse had informed them of the cases of Legionnaires disease, no one had told them about the recent death.

To find out that someones diedits really concerning, she said, adding that patients and their families should be updated daily.

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These are the first cases of health care-associated Legionella pneumonia to occur at the hospitalsince five cases were confirmed in August and September of 2016 in the same tower.

UWMC identified faucets in two operating-room scrub sinks as the source.

Doctors said Friday that since last fall, they've implemented an intensive water management program with constant testing.

KIRO 7 asked Staiger about the most recent test in July. He said it did not show high levels of Legionella.

The levels that we have seen now are a tenth to a hundredth of what we saw last year, he said. He said its unclear if there was a sudden spike or if even very low levels of the bacteria caused these recent cases.

How on earth is this happening again? In less than a year? Ryan asked.

Staiger said there are bathing facilities available for some patients in other parts of the building. He said based on experts' advice, some patients with weakened immune systems are being given antibiotics to help protect them from the Legionella bacteria, although Ryan noted her son had not been put on the antibiotics.

People can develop Legionella pneumonia by breathing in small droplets of water (such as steam or mist) that contain the bacteria.

Legionella bacteria live naturally in freshwater and rarely cause illness. In certain situations, Legionellabacteria can also grow in other water settings, such as showers and faucets, cooling towers, decorative fountains and hot tubs.

People with a chronic lung disease or weak immune systems as well as people who take drugs that suppress the immune system are at greater risk of contracting Legionella pneumonia.

The bacteria are rarely, if ever, transmitted from one person to another.

UW Medicine is testing sinks, ice machines and other water sources.

Preliminary test results are expected next week and more definitive results are expected in two weeks.

2017 Cox Media Group.

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2 Legionnaires' disease cases reported at Seattle hospital, 1 resulting in death - KIRO Seattle

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