UAB Hospital: 10th patient tests positive for legionella, test results show bacteria no longer present in water

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- UAB Hospital confirmed that a 10th patient has tested positive for legionella, though, preliminary test results show the bacteria has been eradicated from the water system on three floors of the Women and Infants Center.According to a release, UAB lifted the precautionary recommendations for everyone on floors five through seven of the center to use a mask when flushing toilets. The move comes after results from extensive testing, which was taken June 4, on the water system that serves the hematology-oncology unit confirmed that legionella was no longer present, UAB Hospital's Senior Vice President for Inpatient Services, Anthony Patterson said.The latest patient to test positive for Legionnaire's, according to UAB, was admitted into the aforementioned cancer unit "several days" before special filters, which remain in place at the hospital, were installed to remove the bacteria from the water. The patient continues to receive treatment for Legionnaire's, Patterson said.Patterson said testing and remediation will continue in a joint-effort by the hospital, the Jefferson County Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.Full statement from Anthony Patterson, Senior Vice President for Inpatient Services at UAB Hospital:"After extensive testing, review and close consultation with the Jefferson County Department of Health, the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC, UAB Hospital has lifted the precautionary recommendation that everyone on floors 5, 6 and 7 of the Women and Infants Center wear a mask when flushing the toilet. This precautionary measure was implemented after patients on a single unit on one floor tested positive for legionella, a bacteria that can lead to a type of pneumonia called legionellosis."UAB Hospital has received preliminary results from the extensive tests taken on June 4 of the water system that serves the hematology/oncology unit. Those tests showed no presence of legionella bacteria. Those tests were conducted to confirm the effectiveness of the chemical shock that was successfully completed on May 31."An additional patient on the hematology/oncology unit has tested positive for legionella bacteria; this patient was admitted to the unit several days before special filters that remove legionella from water were installed throughout the building on May 25. The patient is receiving appropriate treatment. Based on the incubation period of legionellosis and the preliminary test results that show no presence of legionella in the water system, the county and state health departments and the CDC agree that the onset of the patient's symptoms suggest that exposure occurred prior to the installation of the water filters on the unit."Water filters remain in place, and planned testing and remediation will continue with the guidance of public health authorities."