Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Three premature infants died and five others became ill at a Pennsylvania hospital, a spokesman said Monday.
Geisinger Medical Center director of media relations Matthew Van Stone said the hospital discovered the infection caused by the pseudomonas bacteria in July and the deaths happened in the past two months at the neonatal intensive care unit.
One baby was still receiving treatment and four others had already recovered.
The bacteria, which grows in water, is found widely in the environment and the human immune system can withstand it without symptoms in many cases.
"In fragile individuals such as premature infants or the elderly, the resulting infection can cause significant illness," Van Stone said.
The medical center said it will direct mothers who are delivering before 32 weeks gestation to other facilities in the area out of "an abundance of caution."
Dr. Mark Shelley, director of infection prevention at the Geisinger, said the center found no evidence of bacteria throughout the hospital and hospital officials believe it was limited to the intensive care unit.
"It's really too soon to say exactly where the organism is coming from," said Shelley.
Van Stone said the hospital is taking extensive measures to clear the hospital of infection including "achieving optimal chlorination in water lines, improving and maintaining vigilance in donor breast milk processing, routine tap water cultures, increased deep cleaning of our neonatal intensive care unit and many others."