Federal and state health officials were trying to figure out how intravenous feeding bags became contaminated with bacteria after nine critically ill patients died and 10 others were sickened at Alabama hospitals after being treated with the commonly used solutions.
Health officials on Tuesday would not directly link the deaths to the outbreak of serratia marcescens bacteria at six hospitals, but the bags were pulled off the market.
"There is nothing to suggest the deaths were directly related to the bacterial infection," said State Health Officer Donald Williamson who declined to give details on the patients including their ages and illnesses.
On March 16, two hospitals reported increased cases of serratia marcescens to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Officials linked the infection to TPN, a common nutritional supplement delivered directly from the plastic bags into the bloodstream through IV tubes.
A single pharmacy, Birmingham-based Meds IV, made the bags. Williamson said the company has notified its customers of the contamination, has discontinued production and was being very cooperative.