2 patients contract Legionnaires' at Seattle's UW Medical Center: 5 things to know

Two patients likely contracted Legionnaires' disease — a particularly virulent type of pneumonia — while being treated at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

Here are five things to know.

1. UW Medical Center discharged one of the infected patients Aug. 25, according to a hospital update. The other patient, who was suffering from multiple comorbidities, died. The hospital is also treating a third patient who likely contracted the illness outside the healthcare facility.

2. The infections come nearly one year after a Legionnaires' outbreak infected five patients treated in UW Medical Center's Cascade Tower. Two of those patients died.

3. An investigation into last year's outbreak identified Legionella bacteria — the pathogen that incites the illness — in sinks, ice machines and operating room devices used in the patient tower.  

4. The two recently identified hospital-acquired Legionnaires' cases also occurred in patients treated at the Cascade Tower, according to The Seattle Times.

"At this time, we don't know the exact source of Legionella," said Tom Staiger, MD medical director of UW Medical Center, during an Aug. 25 press conference. "We are performing extensive environmental testing to identify and eliminate the source of these infections. Yesterday, based on what we've learned and in part from what we learned with last year's event, we took several steps to protect our patients, staff and visitors, including restricting use of water in patient rooms in the affected tower."

5. Legionnaires' is not spread via person-to-person contact or by drinking water, but can be contracted by inhaling mist from contaminated water sources, such as cooling misters and plumbing systems.

To view the press conference in its entirety, click here.

Note: A change was made to the headline to avoid possible confusion regarding the location of UW Medical Center.

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