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Cluster of mucormycosis infection cases in Queen Mary Hospital

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) spokesperson made the following announcement today (July 20) regarding a number of patient cases of mucormycosis infection:

     QMH reported two cases of cutaneous mucormycosis in patients within past three weeks. Retrospective findings revealed another three cases which had Rhizopus microsporus cultured from respiratory specimens since June this year. All of the patients (two male and three female patients aged 42 to 74) are immunocompromised. Two of them passed away on June 24 and July 14 respectively. The patient cases have been referred to the Coroner to inquire into the causes of death.

     Preliminary investigation found that environmental samples taken at QMH were all negative for fungus. While linens supplied from Shum Wan Laundry were tested positive for Rhizopus microsporus. Environmental samples were taken from Shum Wan Laundry this morning for fungal culture.

     In order to tighten the infection control measures, all linen items at high risk ward area have been replaced with clean linens supplied from Chai Wan Laundry. Linens replacement will also be arranged gradually for the rest of the wards in accordance with the risk levels.

     QMH has reported the cases to the Centre for Health Protection and Hospital Authority Head Office (HAHO). The hospital gave a full account of the incident to the patients and their relatives. An investigation panel has been set up to investigate into the incident and make recommendations and follow-up measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents. The investigation report will be submitted to the HAHO in two weeks.

     HAHO has suspended the supply of linens from Shum Wan Laundry immediately followed by a clean-up at the workplace of the Laundry. The supply will be resumed after the test result meets the requiremnent.

     Mucormycosis is a rare disease due to Murorales. These fungal spores are ubiquitously found in environment, food and wooden material. All strains can be killed at 80 degrees Celsius after one minute but it can grow at 50 degrees Celsius. Immunocompromised patients such as patients with haematological malignancy or receiving immunosuppressant drugs, are vulnerable to this fungal infection.

Ends/Monday, July 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:48


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