A deadly type of bacteria that has been found on certain kinds of hospital equipment has killed nearly 40 people who have underwent heart or lung surgery.Patients who are already vulnerable can feel an immediate effect from the bacteria, but in some cases, it can live in the body for years before becoming fatal.It causes death in nearly all cases, as it can infect the lining of the heart or other vital organs in the body.
The Mirror reports that Mycobacterium chimaera (M. chimaera) is a type of bacteria that can spread through heater cooler units used inside NHS hospitals.
These are often used during heart or lung surgery to keep patients' temperatures regular - but the killer bug can pass through them.After patients have had potentially life-saving surgery, the bacteria can remain in the body for sometimes up to a decade before it results in death.The bug has a high fatality rate, and has caused 38 deaths from 50 infections as of October 6 - however, according to NHS Golden Jubilee, there have been no deaths as a result of the bug in Scotland.
NHS England has notified any patients who might have been affected by the spreading of the bacteria. One patient lived for almost 13 years after coming into contact with it, whilst some passed away as quickly as one month after undergoing surgery.The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has updated its clinical guidance, saying that while the risk of being infected was low, it was usually fatal once it had taken place.