A surgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reportedly infected five patients during valve replacement surgeries this year.

Doctors at cedars-Sinai found in June that three patients who had recently undergone valve replacement surgeries were showing signs of an infection called endocarditis. Epidemiologists then isolated the causal agent and found that it was staphylococcus epidermidis that was causing the infection. The fact that the strains found in three patients were identical led researchers to believe that they had all got it from a single source, reports Los Angeles Times.

Epidemiologists soon found that a surgeon at the hospital had a skin infection. They analyzed the bacteria that had caused the disease in the surgeon and discovered that the bacteria were responsible for the infection in the surgery patients. Tiny cracks on the surgeon's gloves were responsible for the spread of the infection. The hospital soon found out that two other patients had been infected with the same bacteria. In addition, the hospital notified 67 heart surgery patients of the infections.

"We have apologized to the patients involved, worked diligently to answer any questions they have, and provided appropriate follow-up, support and monitoring," a spokesman for the hospital said in a statement Sunday, NBC News reported.

The hospital didn't reveal the doctor's name, but said that he is no longer performing surgeries.

About 99,000 people in the U.S. get die due to infections acquired at a hospital. A recent study had found that improving communication skills of the surgeons and giving a checklist at the time of the surgery can reduce post-operative complications.

Dawn Terashita, a medical epidemiologist with L.A. County, was notified of the incident at Cedars-Sinai in September. She said that the incident was unintentional consequence of surgery. "There is no way to keep a room entirely sterile and all the people in it sterile," she told Los Angeles Times. "You will always have risk of infection."