VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System hospital slow to report Legionella bacteria, CDC says

CDCspokesmanTomSkinnerdeclinedtoreleasethereportortocommentotherthantosaythereportwasdoneattherequestoftheVeteransAffairsDepartment.
"Customarily,it'suptothemtoprovidefurthercommentonthereport,"Skinnersaid.

VAspokesmanDavidCowgillcouldnotbereached.Casey'sofficecouldnotbereachedforfurthercommentonanewsreleaseannouncingthereport.
Casey'srevelationwasmadeontheeveofTuesday'sinvestigativehearingundertheHouseCommitteeonVeterans'AffairsinWashingtonintotheLegionnairesdiseaseoutbreakthatisblamedinatleastoneveteran'sdeathatthehospitallastyear.
"TheCDCreportunderscorestheneedtohaveappropriatereportingrequirementstokeeppeoplesafeandinformed,"Caseysaidintherelease.
"ThisreportstillleavesmanyunansweredquestionsandIamhopefulthatthe(VAOfficeofInspectorGeneral)reportIrequestedinDecemberwillprovideadditionalanswers."
U.S.Reps.MikeDoyle,D-ForestHills,andTimMurphy,R-UpperSt.Clair,soughtTuesday'shearingtohighlightstandardsforwaterpurification,whetherthePittsburghVAfollowedthosestandardsandhowtopreventrepeatepisodes.
DoyleandMurphycouldnotbereachedMondaynight.
AccordingtoCasey,theCDCreportshows:
--PositiveLegionellatestswerenotreportedtotheinfectionpreventionteamimmediately.Casey'sofficedidnotspecifywhichinfectionteam.
--Thereisnocomprehensiveschematicfortheentirepotablewatersystematthehospitalbecauseoftheageofthesystemandongoingmodificationstoit.
--VAPittsburghHealthcareSystem,thestateDepartmentofHealthandAlleghenyCountyHealthDepartmentneedtore-evaluatehowtheyidentifyLegionnaires'outbreaksandsituationsthatmayleadtooutbreaks.
TestsshowedthatfivepeoplecontractedthewaterborneformofpneumoniainsidePittsburgh'sVAsystemwhentheLegionnairesoutbreakwasannouncedinNovember.Onepatientdiedfromthedisease,theAlleghenyCountyHealthDepartmentsaid.
Threehospitalworkerscontractedpneumoniaandafourthreportedrespiratoryproblems,butnoneoftheworkerscouldbeconclusivelydiagnosedwithLegionnaires,accordingtotheirunion,theAmerican.FederationofGovernmentEmployees.
TheVAOfficeoftheInspectorGeneralisconductingaseparatereviewoftheOaklandoutbreakandintothecontrolofLegionellabacteriaatotherVAhospitals,withfindingsexpectedinMarch.
TheVAannouncedtheoutbreakonNov.16,aboutaweekbeforeWorldWarIIveteranWilliamE.Nicklas,87,diedofLegionnairesattheOaklandhospital.
Hisfamilybelieveshecontractedthediseaseinsidethefacilityandthathisdeathwaspreventable,attorneyHarryS.Cohensaid.
IllinoismanufacturerLiquiTechEnvironmentalSolutionsreportedfindingdeficienciesinthehospital'swatersystemsnearly12monthsbeforetheVArevealedtheoutbreak,tentativelytiedtocontaminatedtapwater.


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