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Three patients at the University of Wisconsin Health's University Hospital in Madison have died of Legionnaires' disease. Fourteen patients have been identified as having Legionnaires', according to Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control.
The hospital suspects the cause is its hot water system. While the hospital has a water treatment system, "a recent adjustment to that system may have compromised its function," according to a hospital statement.
University Hospital had stopped use of hospital showers temporarily in response, and it used a hyperchlorination process to flush all hot water lines to eliminate Legionella bacteria. The four patients who tested positive for Legionnaires' disease are the first cases of the disease acquired at the hospital in 23 years. SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Madison also identified a case of Legionnaires' disease. That patient did not have any contact with University Hospital and is believed to have contracted the disease in a community setting, not in a health care facility.