An outbreak of a serious type of pneumonia has been linked to so-called heater-cooler units used to control body temperature during surgery at a Seattle area hospital.
The discovery at the University of Washington Medical Center came during an investigation of at least four cases of Legionnaires’ disease, including two patients who died, according to the Seattle Times.
UW Medicine officials previously found Legionella bacteria in an ice machine and multiple sinks in the medical center.
The Food and Drug Administration reported 32 infections with heater-cooler units between January 2010 and August 2015 and indicated that transmission of bacteria was possible, according to the Seattle Times.
“Although the water in the circuits does not come into direct contact with the patient, there is the potential for contaminated water to enter other parts of the device or transmit bacteria through the air,” FDA officials wrote.
Similar heater-cooler units were tied to deadly infections at a central Pennsylvania hospital in 2015 and at the University Hospital of Zurich.
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