Another person sickened in Legionnaires' disease outbreak at VA University Drive
By Luis Fábregas
Published: Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, 10:30 a.m.
Five people have now been sickened in the Legionnaires' disease outbreak linked to the water distribution system at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System's University Drive Campus in Oakland, a hospital official reported on Thursday.
VA spokesman Dave Cowgill declined to say if the most recent victim has been successfully treated or remains hospitalized, citing federal privacy laws. Officials said last week that four patients who developed pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria were successfully treated and released.
“Patient privacy concerns prohibit me from responding in this particular case,” Cowgill wrote in an email.
The fifth patient likely contracted the illness before officials completed cleaning the water distribution system with hyperchlorinization and flushing, Cowgill said. The incubation period for the bacteria is 14 days, and therefore, officials determined the patient became infected in the hospital, he said.
The 146-bed facility remains under alert for more cases, and officials have imposed water restrictions after discovering the outbreak on Nov. 16.
Cowgill could not say when the restrictions will be lifted. Restrictions include using water buffaloes for cooking and cleaning, and using hand sanitizers instead of soap and water for handwashing.
Patients, visitors and employees have been instructed not to drink the water. Officials have brought in bottled water and bagged water for patients' baths.
The potentially deadly bacteria typically is treated with antibiotics. Some people with weakened immune systems can be more severely affected. The VA has not released specific patient information.
Officials said they have changed the way they disinfect the hospital's water distribution system.
Luis Fábregas is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- More women seize opportunities to start businesses
- Lone & flocking legal eagles
- Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Patients denied as donor organs discarded
- State police: People injured in Parkway crash resulting from police chase
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Bethel Park man to receive degree from Pitt he earned 64 years ago
- Film tax credits bill would bump up state budget