Water may have spread South Carolina hospital infection

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

July 16, 2014

Federal health officials are focusing on water as the possible source of bacteria that infected 15 patients at Greenville (S.C.) Memorial Hospital since March, according to an article in the Augusta Chronicle.

The CDC is investigating the outbreak of the bacterial infection, which is also being suspected in the deaths of three patients. Reports say the bacteria are found normally in soil and dust, but it can also be found in regular tap water. Any piece of equipment in the surgical environment that could have contact with water must be carefully reviewed, the report added.

Most of the patients who were affected had undergone cardiac surgery. Two had abdominal surgery and one had a neurological operation. The paper reported that officials initially thought a piece of equipment in one operating room was the source of the infection. Since then, the hospital has switched to using sterile water in all surgical procedures.