12 children contract rare infection at New Orleans hospital

At least a dozen children who underwent cardiac surgery at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans this summer have contracted a rare surgical-site infection caused by bacteria.

The hospital told the New Orleans Advocate that the bacteria have been linked to operating room equipment used to regulate the temperature of patients during heart surgery.

John F. Heaton, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, told WWL-TV that patients are responding to treatment.

The bacterium was identified as mycobacterium abscessus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that the bacteria are common in water, soil and dust.

The center says the bacteria have been known to contaminate medical devices and cause infections that usually involve the skin and soft tissues under the skin.