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Contaminated IV fluid examined in deaths

MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 30 (UPI) -- A contaminated IV fluid may have been involved in the deaths of nine hospital patients in Alabama, health officials said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control are investigating outbreaks of Serratia marcenscens bacteria infection at six Alabama hospitals, WAKA-TV, Montgomery, Ala., reported Tuesday.

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The infections were found in 19 patients receiving TPN, a liquid nutrition that is fed through an IV.

Nine of the 19 patients have died, but state health officials said they could not determine if the deaths were due to the contaminated product or another illness.

"Patients who are getting TPN have other underlying conditions or they wouldn't be getting TPN, so I can't say at this point the relationship of the bacteremia to the death," Dr. Donald Williamson, the Director of Alabama's Department of Public Health, said.

Serratia marcenscens is a blood stream infection and cannot be transmitted from person to person so there is no threat to the public, officials said.

MEDS IV, the company producing TPN, has stopped production and distribution of the liquid nutrition, WAKA-TV reported.

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