Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, confirmed it is investigating an increased incidence of bacterial infection among 12 patients treated in its critical-care areas. The bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is often found in humans but does not typically cause illness unless a person is sick or has a weakened immune system. Based on the investigation to date, officials said they believe the recent increase in infections is tied to the use of bronchoscopes and the possibility of defective equipment or sterilization technique. Doctors said that although patients may have been exposed to the bacteria through a bronchoscope, most will not develop an infection. The unexpectedly high rate of infection was first noticed in the second week of October. The hospital is contacting all former patients who underwent a bronchoscopy procedure from June 1 to Oct. 1 or their families. Officials also are setting up a telephone hot line. -- by Cinda Becker
Pittsburgh hospital investigates infections
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