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Cluster of Trichosporon Asahii cases in Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The spokesperson for Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) made the following announcement today (April 21):
     Three male patients (aged 49 to 81), staying in three different wards of QEH, were found infected with Trichosporon asahii in their blood test taken between April 4 and 8 this year. Antifungal therapy was prescribed immediately for the patients. One patient aged 67 passed away on April 13 due to underlying illness and would be referred to the Coroner for follow-up. Two other patients remained staying in the medical wards of the hospital for continuation of treatment of their underlying medical illness. They are now in stable condition. The hospital has explained the details with the concerned patients and their relatives. The patients are under close surveillance.
     Generally speaking, there is only one case for patient infected with Trichosporon asahii in Hong Kong each year. The incident is unusual as it involved three patients infected in the same period. The hospital has informed the Hospital Authority Head Office and met with the experts of Centre for Health Protection for follow-up. Meanwhile, all healthcare staff have been reminded to strictly follow aseptic technique during intravenous and related procedures, such as using alcoholic hand rub to clean hands in order to reinforce infection control.
     The hospital found no further cases since April 8. Investigations on potential sources of contamination are ongoing and the situation would be closely monitored. The hospital would like to emphasize that the cases were found in the hospital only and there is no similar case in other hospitals.
     Trichosporon species are fungi that are usually found in the soil. They also colonize the skin and gastrointestinal tract of humans. Trichosporon asahii may cause disseminated disease in immunocompromised patients. Trichosporon asahii is a fungus that can be commonly found in the environment.

Ends/Sunday, April 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 21:51


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