Bacteria Found in Tap Water at Franciscan Children's Hospital

Franciscan Children’s Hospital has begun restricting use of tap water after detection of harmful bacteria.

By Mackenna Moralez
December 14, 2022

Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Mass. Has begun restricting the use of tap water after discovering the presence of a harmful bacteria, Burkholderia cepacia, in two water sources, according to the Boston Globe. Along with limiting the use of water for bathing and consumption, staff were also advised to sanitize their hands after washing them in the sink. The hospital is also not accepting transfers of patients with lung transplants due to the presence of the bacteria. 

Burkholderia is commonly found in water and soil and poses little medical risk to healthy individuals. But it can trigger infections and other illnesses to immunocompromised individuals. The bacteria often resist common antibiotics, posing risk to more severely ill patients. 

This incident is the second time the bacteria has been found within the facility. It was detected at the hospital in 2019 when a sample from a routine test of a patient came back positive. Over the last three years, 36 children have either arrived at the hospital with the bacteria or tested positive for it after admission. Some patients can have detectable levels of the bacteria and never develop symptoms. 

The hospital has been working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify the source of the contamination. According to the Boston Globe, the investigation included extensive water testing that identified the two water sources that were impacted. 

Filters have been installed throughout the hospital. The DPH and CDC gave the hospital clearance to resume bathing patients in filtered tap water.  

Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor with the facility market.

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