4 dead in ongoing bacterial outbreak at Seattle hospital

Over the last six months, 31 patients at Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center have been infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae and four have since died, NPR affiliate KUOW reported April 25.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacteria commonly found in healthcare settings that is antibiotic resistant. It can cause pneumonia, meningitis and wound or bloodstream infections.

Public health officials said the outbreak is ongoing but that the number of new cases is decreasing. Infected patients were hospitalized in various departments and the hospital has not discovered the source of the bacteria, according to the report. 

The ongoing risk to Virginia Mason patients is unknown because it can take months for an infection to show up as an illness, public health officials told KUOW. The patients who died came to the hospital with complex diagnoses, so it is unknown whether  the bacteria caused their deaths.

Virginia Mason is implementing increased safety measures and treating infected patients. It has also sent letters to patients who may have been exposed.
"Beginning in October 2022, Virginia Mason Medical Center detected an increase in cases of Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria at our downtown campus," Sydney Bersante, interim president at Virginia Mason Medical Center, said in a statement. "We immediately implemented increased safety measures, notified patients who had tested positive for the bacteria, and promptly provided treatment where necessary. While the risk of transmission is extremely low for patients, we continue to take proactive steps to avoid additional transmission. We are continuing to investigate the source of this outbreak jointly with local and state public health partners."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars