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Shands Works To Eliminate Problem Bacteria

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U-F Health Shands Hospital is still working to restore its Burn Unit.  It’s been closed as a result of seven patients diagnosed with a potentially lethal bacteria, and hospital officials Tuesday talked about their efforts to eliminate the bacteria and treat those who had become ill.

The hospital is still taking in burn patients, but is  treating them at some of the eight I-C-U units.   Chief Medical Office Timothy Flynn says it could be several months before the burn unit is completely cleaned and renovated and ready to accept patients.

Flynn says Shands first began surveillance on the first patient infected back in March.  The last instance of the bacteria was seen last week.

Flynn says it’s unclear how the bacteria infected the hospital but tests have not shown any more signs of it.   It’s found in soil in a number of foreign countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Although Flynn confirmed seven people had been infected with the bacteria, called acinetobacter baumannii, he refused to say if any had died.

This bacteria can cause fatal infections for vulnerable patients including burn victims because their immune systems are compromised.  The hospital is still taking burn patients, one of those patients is from the gas plant explosion in central florida. The infection control department is checking for contamination in other areas of the department.

About Forrest Smith

Forrest is a radio news manager for WUFT News. Reach him by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.

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