MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Death toll rises to 9 in bacteria outbreak at Virginia Mason

Jun 8, 2023, 10:31 AM | Updated: 12:55 pm

Virginia Mason Health...

Thirty-one patients at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health have been infected in an ongoing Klebsiella outbreak in Seattle. (From KIRO 7 News)

(From KIRO 7 News)

Update 6/8 10:31 a.m.:

Virginia Mason has confirmed that the death count has risen to nine in a bacteria outbreak at the Seattle hospital.

In a June 7 update on the outbreak, Virginia Mason Medical Center confirmed that a total of 33 patients had confirmed infections and nine patients had passed away. The latest known confirmed case was identified May 4.

“We immediately implemented increased safety measures, notified patients who had tested positive for the bacteria, and promptly provided treatment where necessary,” Interim President Sydney Bersante said in the update. “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.”

The source of transmission is still under investigation.

Original 4/27:

Thirty-one patients at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health have been infected in an ongoing Klebsiella outbreak in Seattle.

According to a statement from the hospital, these infections happened at Virginia Mason’s First Hill campus and were most recently detected on April 3.

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Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) first detected an increase of Klebsiella pneumonia bacteria at its downtown campus in October 2022, according to VMMC Interim President Sydney Bersante.

“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,” Bersante said in a statement.

Four of the 31 patients died – but Public Health Seattle-King County did not confirm if those deaths were due to bacterial infection.

People can carry the bacteria in their system for months without showing any symptoms, making it incredibly difficult to identify where and when someone may have been infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Klebsiella can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and infections in bloodstreams, wounds, and surgical sites.

“In healthcare settings, Klebsiella infections commonly occur among sick patients who are receiving treatment for other conditions. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines) or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for Klebsiella infections,” the CDC said.

A news release from the hospital says the risk of transmission is relatively low.

The hospital said that they are working to contain the spread by tracking cases to determine where it is spreading, facilitating specialized testing, and working with authorities in the State Department of Health.

Patients who are concerned or feel sick should reach out to their primary care provider, who can test specifically for Klebsiella and offer necessary treatments, according to Virginia Mason.

Bersante said they have notified patients who have tested positive for the bacteria and have increased safety measures like more cleaning and testing.

Patients who are concerned or feel sick should reach out to their primary care provider, who can test specifically for Klebsiella and offer necessary treatments, according to Virginia Mason.

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Death toll rises to 9 in bacteria outbreak at Virginia Mason