Arkansas health officials confirm outbreak at cancer center

Arkansas health officials confirm outbreak at cancer center
The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed that 52 patients recently treated at Arkansas Cancer Institute have tested positive for a previously unknown bacterial infection, and more than 100 others are at risk.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed that 52 patients recently treated at Arkansas Cancer Institute have tested positive for a previously unknown bacterial infection, and more than 100 others are at risk.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that three patients who tested positive for the infection have died, though it's unknown whether the bacteria caused their deaths. The Pine Bluff treatment center outbreak was discovered among people who have ports, or implanted devices that give access to the bloodstream to administer medication or help draw blood.

Arkansas state epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says officials expect infected patient numbers to rise, but it's unclear by how much more. Haselow says those identified as being at risk have been screened and are awaiting results.

He says the bacteria outbreak isn't a risk to the general public.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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