Four UW hospital patients have a history of legionnaires and the hospital is investigating the connection to the hot water system, officials said on Wednesday.
The UW Hospital uses a water purification system aimed at maintaining a low level, but a recent correction to this system may have endangered its function, officials said. Examinations in some hospital units have recently shown an elevated level.
Four patients who had a positive urine test within the last 10 days. The hospital is now conducting tests to determine if the bacteria are linked to the hospital's water system.
The risk comes only from hot water like air drops, such as water with hot showers, in the UW Hospital statement. Cold water does not pose a risk. Healthy patients who can inhale drops of water with bacteria are at low risk. Persons at higher risk are people over 50 years old and with lung disease or immune system disorders.
When the hospital became aware of four patients with legionnaires, officials stopped using hospital showers. This is expected to last until Thursday.
On Wednesday, the hospital is implementing a "hyperchlorination" process to release all hot water lines in the building to eliminate any legionellosis bacteria. The hospital has also reported victim patients and situation staff.
The hospital regularly monitors the water and every time there is a suspicion that the patient has legionnaires. "The 23-year-old universities did not have any cases of Legionella in the hospital at that time. The American Family Children's Hospital was not affected.
Two out of four patients are discharged from the hospital; the other two are hospitalized. During this time, no additional cases of Legionnaires have been found.
The Wisconsin National Health Department was also notified and will be informed as additional information will be provided.