150+ employees potentially exposed to dangerous bacteria at Seattle hospital

One hundred and fifty-eight employees at Seattle-based Harborview Medical Center are receiving tests and treatments after potential exposure to the Brucella bacteria, which can cause an infectious disease called brucellosis, according to KIRO 7.

A patient was transferred to Harborview from another hospital in late June, and tests later showed the patient had brucellosis. A lab worker also dropped a test tube with the Brucella bacteria in it on June 25, which may have exposed other lab employees.

The Harborview employees have been offered antibiotics and blood tests and informed of the symptoms, which include fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Brucella can be deadly if left untreated. The disease does not spread person to person, however, so hospital patients, other employees, and exposed employees' families are not in danger of catching it.

So far, employees' blood tests for Brucella bacteria have come back negative.


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