Doctor: 1 death tied to 'unusual infection' at GHS - FOX Carolina 21

Doctor: 1 death tied to 'unusual infection' at GHS

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Officials with Greenville Health Systems said on Friday the hospital has found an "unusual infection" in a small number of surgical patients.

The hospital said they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to identify the source of the infection, which is caused by an "atypical mycobacterium."

"Based on the preliminary results of the investigation, we believe that the infection is related to a piece of equipment which was removed from use. In an abundance of caution, all other pieces of equipment which may potentially be involved in these cases have also been removed from use," said hospital epidemiologist Bill Kelly, M.D., in a release.

"Because of our strong surveillance system, we were able to identify the potential problem and take immediate and appropriate action," said Kelly. "Patients and families will always be our top priority. We will continue to work closely with outside agencies to investigate the infection; we will continue to monitor and support those patients who have been affected."

Hospital officials said, due to the organism's long incubation period, some patients did not show signs of the infection until months after their surgeries.

Kelly said the infection is tied to at least one death at the hospital.

They said people who are sick with other illnesses and have surgical procedures are more susceptible to infections.

The first patient who tested positive was in March 2014. They said other patients who tested positive are being notified, but they said there could be more cases.

They said the infection is not contagious.

People concerned about possibly having contracted the infection should contact their doctor.

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