NSW woman infected after heart surgery

A woman in her 80s has been infected with a rare bacteria after open-heart surgery in a Sydney hospital with equipment known to harbour the infection.

An elderly woman has contracted a rare and potentially deadly disease after she was exposed in a Sydney hospital to open heart surgery equipment linked to a global outbreak.

The woman, in her 80s, is the first confirmed NSW patient infected with Mycobacterium Chimaera, after authorities warned of potentially contaminated open-heart surgery equipment in August last year.

The woman, who was operated on in 2015, has been treated with antibiotics and is responding well, NSW Health said on Monday.

A heater-cooler device thought to be infected during manufacture was used in open-heart surgery for four years in four NSW public hospitals: Prince of Wales; St George; Sydney Children's Hospital; and The Children's Hospital.

At least 50 patients worldwide have been infected after cardiac surgery and the infection is believed to have caused the death of several patients overseas.

NSW Health authorities have assured patients that the affected devices have been cleaned or replaced and the risk to patients from the infection is low.

The slow-developing infection can take several years to be diagnosed and NSW Health has written to potentially exposed patients asking them to look for persistent fevers, unusual shortness of breath and unexplained weight loss.

Source AAP

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