Tuen Mun Hospital announces case of larvae being found in patient's wound

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The spokesperson for Tuen Mun Hospital (TMH) made the following announcement today (June 13) on a case of larvae being found in a patient's wound:
     The clinical team of the Department of Neurosurgery at TMH last Saturday (June 10) found several larvae in a 52-year-old female patient's neck and near the wound of her tracheostomy tube during a nursing procedure. The patient had received a neurosurgery operation earlier and is bed-bound with ventilator support. Wound cleaning was performed right away and the larvae were sent to the laboratory of the Department of Clinical Pathology for tests. Detailed clinical examinations by a doctor from the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat were also arranged for the patient immediately with repeated bronchoscopy and computed tomography scanning. No other larvae were found after repeated examinations by the clinical team and no health risk has been brought to the patient by this incident.
     TMH emphasises that the clinical team normally changes the gauze around the patient's tracheostomy every few hours in order to maintain its hygiene. No abnormality was found during the last gauze changing procedure. The patient is now in stable condition and the medical team of TMH will continue to provide appropriate treatment to the patient. The medical team and patient relations officers have explained the incident to the patient's family and will continue to render necessary support.
     Laboratory tests performed by a microbiologist of TMH confirmed that the larvae were larvae of Sacrophaga, which is a kind of common fly in Hong Kong. Adult flies may breed larvae on wounds and subsequently cause infections.
     Pest control is scheduled to be performed monthly in the ward concerned and the last pest control service was performed on May 19. After the incident, the contractor was ordered to perform additional pest control services at TMH and ward areas. TMH has also checked all insect trap lights placed in the hospital, and found no obvious increase in the number of insects trapped. TMH has reported the incident to the government departments concerned and has urged the hospital's service contractors to maintain a high standard of hygiene in order to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and insects.

     As such an incident is very rare, TMH has reminded clinical staff and patients to observe the following measures to avoid larva infestation:
  • Treat all wounds immediately and dress them properly to avoid breeding of larvae;
  • Enhance fly-proofing measures;
  • Observe good personal hygiene; and
  • Stay alert to patients developing symptoms of larva infestation.

     TMH has reported the incident to the Hospital Authority Head Office and the Centre for Health Protection. TMH will look into the hygiene standard of the ward and the cleanliness of medical equipment and consumables as well as the nursing care procedures in order to identify the source of larvae found in the ward area.

Ends/Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:22