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Fears over mold deaths

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Source: The Standard

Images : The Sun/ejinsight

Youtube: Appledaily

 

 

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The Hospital Authority has blamed unclean linen for an outbreak of a mold infection that has probably claimed two lives since last month. The authority said yesterday it had detected fungal bacteria Rhizopus microsporus - commonly known as mold - in linen at Queen Mary Hospital.

 

The linen was washed in a Sham Wan laundry run by contractor ISS Mediclean, which washes bedding and patient clothes for another 14 hospitals and institutions under the authority. The supply of linen from the laundry has been suspended. The hospitals and clinics affected will have existing linen changed by today, and will use alternative laundries for now. Besides the linen, environmental samples taken at Queen Mary Hospital were all negative for fungus.

 

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, from the University of Hong Kong's department of microbiology, said among the five people affected by the infection, two caught the fungus from skin contact and three through the respiratory system. All five patients, two male and three female patients aged 42 to 74, had compromised immune systems.

 

Of the skin contact cases, one was a 74-year-old man who underwent a liver transplant in the mainland in May. He was being treated in a private hospital for transplant complications, and was diagnosed with a mold infection on June 23 and died a day later. Another was a leukemia patient, 49, in need of a bone marrow transplant. He was diagnosed last Wednesday and in a serious condition yesterday. The closeness of their infection dates and the common factor of skin infection indicated that there is an outbreak in the hospital, Yuen said. Another three cases were traced retrospectively, including a woman, 42, suffering from pneumonia who died in July 14. The two others were released from hospital and in stable condition respectively. It is unclear if mold infection caused the two deaths.

 

To trace the source of infection, the authority checked for mold in things that come into skin contact with patients. It found 31 percent of linen in use and 18 percent of clean linen had the fungus. A follow-up test showed on linen that arrived at Queen Mary from the Sham Wan laundry, 50 percent had the fungus.

 

A task force has been set up under the authority to investigate why there is so much mold in the linen. It will finish a report in two weeks. "There are various possibilities. It could be the temperature of washing, the temperature of drying ... or the use of corn starch to make the clothes straighter during ironing," Yuen said. There is no international standard on what level of mold in linen is safe for patients, and the laundry is not required by contract to keep bedding bacteria- free, he said. As the fungus poses most risk to vulnerable patients, bedding in Queen Mary's 11 high risk wards has been replaced. Yuen remains open about other possible causes of death to infected patients. In 2009, five patients at Queen Mary Hospital died after taking a drug contaminated by fungal bacteria.

Edited by R.E.D

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That is disgusting I would have thought that the hospital's cleaning company would have done a more thorough job of cleaning the hospital's linens!

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One would think that hospitals are the cleanest places but apparently not.

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They shouldn't even consider any level of mold in linen safe for patients if there are possibilities of causing death.

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Hospital is NOT the cleanest place.. it's actually the place to avoid unless one is really sick as that's where you can pickup other disease from people or things those people touched. Just hope they will fix the issue so other will be safe.

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they should find a way to get rid of those bodies and burn them to avoid any spread of the disease to the public.

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