Officials from the Prince George’s Hospital Center say the hospital's water system was the source of the bacterium pseudomonas found in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and other patient care areas.
Three babies in the NICU tested positive for the bacteria, which can cause a potentially deadly infection. Hospital officials said on Aug. 10, the infants were “clinically asymptomatic for any active infection with the bacterium.”
Nine infants were moved out of Prince George’s Hospital Center to Children’s National Medical System in Washington, D.C.
Following the initial reports, the Prince George’s Hospital Center tested the water and found pseudomonas in a patient care area outside the NICU.
Bacterium pseudomonas were found in six sinks in the hospital, inculding four sinks in the NICU, officials said during a news conference Friday. Those sinks have since been removed and treated.
The hospital is now using a bacteria water filtration system throughout the hospital.
While the hospital's water supply was found to be the source of the bacterium pseudomonas, officials say the water is safe to drink.
The hospital has also added new disinfection and treatment procedures for the water as well as a long-term water monitoring plan. Current high-risk pregnancies were also transfered to other hospitals for delivery.
Pseudomonas bacteria often can be transmitted through water, hospital officials said.
Pseudomonas infections can cause ear infections, skin rashes and mild illnesses in healthy people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the infections can cause severe illness or death in people with weakened immune systems, the CDC said. About 400 deaths per year are attributed to drug-resistant pseudomonas infections, the CDC said in a 2013 report.