Contaminated IV bags may be at the root of nine deaths that occurred in six Alabama hospitals according to state health officials.
Nineteen people in area hospitals were diagnosed with bacteria, identified as serratia marcescens bacteremia, which can prove fatal.
Nine of them died and officials believe the bacteria got into their blood after they were fed intravenously.
“This represents an example of an outbreak that does, unfortunately, occur,” says Dr. Don Williamson of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The rod-shaped bacteria were discovered in bags used in intravenous feeding.
The product, which was recalled last Thursday, was available from only one manufacturer and sold to the hospitals; it was not clear how many people in all had been administered the solution, says Williamson.
The Centers For Disease Control have not determined that they caused the deaths and an investigation is ongoing.