- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Specially ventilated rooms believed to be linked to a deadly mold outbreak at a Pennsylvania hospital should be avoided for patients with weakened immune systems, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The recommendation was made in a CDC report Thursday as the agency continued to investigate a mold outbreak at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that was linked to the deaths of four transplant patients. The mold infections occurred over the course of a year and prompted UPMC to suspend its transplant program for nearly a week in September.

The patients likely got the fungal infections from time spent in a “negative pressure” room, which are designed for patients with infectious diseases so any air they might infect doesn’t get into corridors or rooms with other patients. The rooms could lead to harm for patients with compromised immune systems, according to the CDC.

None of the transplant patients had an infectious disease and were staying in the rooms because there was nowhere else to put them, UPMC officials have said.

Hospital officials said the center will no longer house transplant patients in negative pressure rooms since they have weakened immune systems.

“Our hope is that other medical centers will learn from our experience and implement the rigorous controls we voluntarily put in place to ensure patient safety,” Tami Minnier, UPMC’s chief quality officer, said in a statement. “We appreciate the ongoing support of the CDC, as well as that of our local and state health authorities.”

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