Pittsburgh hospital had Legionella in ice machines

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The bacteria that causes Legionnaire's disease was found in ice machines at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's flagship hospital, where officials say one patient died and two were sickened by the bug last year.

Tami Minnier, the hospital chain's chief quality officer, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/Rb2vz3 ) that UPMC Presbyterian officials were stumped initially when tests of the hospital's water system were negative for Legionella.

But officials reviewed the dead patient's medical records and found he had been restricted to eating ice chips and aspirated — meaning he inhaled a chip into his lung.

The bacteria can cause a severe form of pneumonia, but are typically known to thrive in warm water.

Minnier says the sicknesses showed the bacteria can grow in ice machines, too, which UPMC replaced, overhauled, and sterilized as a result.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

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