UW intensifies testing after patient death linked to Legionnaires' disease

Seattle-based University of Washington Medical Center officials have increased their testing of patients and the hospital environment after two patients contracted Legionnaires' disease in August, including one patient who died, according to The Seattle Times.

Hospital officials have taken 70 separate samples from various sections of the hospital that use or come into contact with water vapor, the most common method through which the disease-causing bacteria spread. Patients are also being tested, according to the article.

The investigation is being conducted by an independent consultant and is overseen by Public Health-Seattle & KingCounty.

The investigation began after two cases of Legionella infection were reported by patients treated in the UW Medical Center cardiac care units. A 30-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man both contracted Legionnaires' disease. The male patient died as a result of the infection on Sept. 9.

This is not the first time UW Medical Center has had problems with Legionella: The hospital was fined $54,000 in 2014 for violations that included the detection of low levels of Legionella bacteria in a hospital cooling tower, a structure which helps heat and cool the facility during the year, according to the article.

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