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11 patients at UW Hospital developed Legionnaires’ disease

Legionnaires' disease

MADISON, Wis. — Eleven patients at UW Hospital developed Legionnaires’ disease, apparently due to bacteria in the hospital’s hot water system.

Officials said Friday that four of the patients remained hospitalized and six were discharged or treated at outpatient facilities.

Officials said last week that one patient died. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that more cases could be found before Wednesday, when the incubation period for the bacteria ends.

Dr. Nasia Safdar is medical director of infection control at UW Hospital. She has said these cases appear to be linked to a decision last month to reduce water flow at the hospital during low-demand times, which can make the system more vulnerable to bacteria. Regular flow has resumed.

Last week, the hospital chlorinated its water system. The hospital is working with health officials to test the water and ensure it’s safe.

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