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Investigations into Two Cases of Cryptococcus

Friday, January 18, 2019

Investigations are continuing into two isolated cases of an unusual fungal infection within the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. 

The organism is a Cryptococcus species, which is harmless to the vast majority of people and rarely causes disease in humans.  It is caused by inhaling the fungus Cryptococcus. These fungi are primarily found in soil and pigeon droppings. 

A number of control measures were immediately put in place, and there have been no further cases.  

We have found a likely source in a non-public area away from wards and the droppings were removed. 

The small number of paediatric and adult patients who are vulnerable to this infection are receiving medication to prevent potential infection. This has proved effective.

As an additional precaution, we have also installed portable HEPA filter units in specific areas. These HEPA machines filter the air continuously to give us reassurance for this vulnerable group of patients. 

During the detailed investigation, a separate issue has arisen with the sealant in some of the shower rooms. 

Repairs are underway and our maintenance team are working to remedy this issue as quickly as possible with the minimum disruption. 

As a further precaution, a specific group of patients are being moved within the hospital due to their clinical diagnosis and ongoing treatment. 

Teresa Inkster, Lead Consultant for Infection Control, said: “Cryptococcus lives in the environment throughout the world. It rarely causes infection in humans. 

“People can become infected with it after breathing in the microscopic fungi, although most people who are exposed to it never get sick from it. 

“There have been no further cases since the control measures were put in place. 

“In the meantime we are continuing to monitor the air quality and these results are being analysed. 

“It remains our priority to ensure a safe environment for patients and staff.” 

ENDS

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

 

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