7 dead in Virginia Mason's ongoing bacterial outbreak

Three more patients who contracted Klebsiella pneumoniae at Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center have died, bringing the total to seven patient deaths, the hospital said in an April 28 update.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacteria commonly found in healthcare settings that is antibiotic resistant. It can cause pneumonia, meningitis and wound or bloodstream infections. The bateria is the cause of an ongoing outbreak at the hospital, which began in October 2022. Infected patients were hospitalized in various departments and the hospital has not discovered the source of the bacteria, according to the release.

On April 26, four patients with Klebsiella pneumoniae were reported dead after contracting the disease, though "due to the medical complexity of these patients' conditions, it is difficult to determine whether Klebsiella pneumoniae caused or contributed to their deaths," according to the release. The total number of infections has not increased.

"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 of Virginia Mason Medical Center, said in the release. "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."

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