9 dead after bacterial outbreak in Ala. hospitals

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "At this point the risk of exposure based on everything we know has ended," says State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson.

Consider it a sigh of relief for Alabama residents. Williamson says the risk of getting an infection from liquid nutrition at a hospital is over.

But, not before 19 people in six Alabama hospitals--including one in Prattville--got sick with a bacterial infection of the blood.

"There have been 9 deaths of patients who have had Serratia Marcescens Bacterium. I cannot ascribe those 9 deaths to the Serratia Marcescens," says Williamson.

Williamson doesn't know if the bacteria itself killed these patients since he says they were already sick when they became infected.

The company that produced the liquid nutrition--Birmingham-based Meds IV--has stopped making it. All the hospitals have stopped using it.

Prattville Baptist officials say one patient was affected by the product, but aren't saying if that patient is among the nine who died.

"Since most of the hospitals were in the Birmingham area, it is a logical inference that most of the deaths were in the Birmingham area," adds Williamson.

Even after hearing of a case in their city, some Prattville residents aren't concerned.

"You just have to trust in the people that are there to help you," says Frances Dyer.

"I feel like that the hospital pretty much takes care of everything that needs to be taken care of. I'm not concerned with their quality or anything like that," says Allen Herrod.

Dr. Williamson says the health department and Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta are working to see just how many people received the IV medicine even if they weren't diagnosed with the bacterial infection.

He also says the bacteria can't be passed from one person to another. An investigation continues to make sure there aren't other hospitals that have the contaminated product.

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