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UAB North Pavillion

According to Dr. Mary McIntyre, the assistant state health officer of the Alabama Department of Public Health, the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Hospital did not notify public health authorities soon enough after the Legionella outbreak occurred.

“The reality is that we are working with them where issues occurred and making sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Dr. McIntyre.

It seems that UAB was aware of a cluster of confirmed Legionella cases as early as May 7, but the state and county health departments were not notified until May 19.  UAB did, however, begin remediation steps from May 7 to May 9.

Two of the nine individuals who tested positive for Legionella bacteria ultimately died from in early May.

The underreporting of “reportable diseases” (diseases that are required to be reported to the stated and federal health authorities) is a big problem that hospitals have in general, not just UAB.  The current requirement for reportable diseases is seven days after discovery.  As a result of this outbreak, Alabama is starting a new program to increase Legionella awareness.

There have been no new cases since UAB took remediation steps from May 7-9.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:06 pm

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