Skip to Main Content

Community Resources

Virginia Mason Medical Center Community Update

Dec. 30, 2022

“Virginia Mason Medical Center’s standard surveillance processes identified increased reporting of Klebsiella infections among recently hospitalized patients. We are implementing increased safety measures, and patients who developed Klebsiella infections have been notified and are receiving treatment. Our top priority is keeping our patients and team members safe, and we are taking measures to help prevent further spread of infection.” – Katerie Chapman, President, Virginia Mason Medical Center.

“Public Health has been working closely with Virginia Mason Medical Center to identify any potential causes of the infection. Public Health has reviewed VM’s prevention plan, which includes recommended steps for infection control. These types of outbreaks are complex, and despite thorough investigation, we may never know the source.”  Dr. Eric Chow, Chief, Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Public Health – Seattle & King County

  • Patient safety is our top priority, and we have rigorous processes and procedures in place to quickly identify potential safety concerns, so we can address them and ensure we are providing the safest, highest quality care to our patients. 

  • Recently, our standard surveillance processes identified a higher than usual number of patients who developed an infection with a multi-drug resistant bacteria called ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae during their hospitalization at VMMC. Patients identified with Klebsiella infections have been notified and are now receiving treatment. 

  • Out of an abundance of caution, we have also notified patients who may have been exposed to ESBL Klebsiella pneumoniae in the unit where they stayed during their recent hospitalization at Virginia Mason Medical Center.

  • Patients who suspect illness or feel sick should reach out to their primary care provider, who can test for this bacterium and recommend a specific treatment. Our advice for anyone else concerned should be to seek care with their provider.

  • We are working collaboratively with Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC), the Washington State Dept. of Health (DOH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on an investigation. The source of transmission and risk of exposure are under investigation at this time, and proactive steps have been taken to avoid additional potential exposures, including conducting environmental sampling and reviewing cleaning and infection prevention practices.

  • Klebsiella pneumoniae is a type of bacteria that lives naturally in the community and can be part of the normal bacteria that lives in a healthy digestive system. While most people will never get sick from this organism, occasionally it can lead to infections such as urinary tract infections, blood stream, wound or surgical site infections, or pneumonia.

Additional details are available at the CDC’s website at Klebsiella pneumoniae resource