The last thing anyone would expect from a children's hospital is deadly bacteria lurking in dark corners. After all, these are places kids go to get better, not to get sick.
Unfortunately, a Seattle Times report discovered infections relating to a particularly nasty type of mould, according to Forbes. Investigators discovered that six patients at the Seattle Children's Hospital had developed Aspergillus infections. Sadly, one of them died this year.
Three cases were found in 2018, with a further three coming to light this year. Despite the evidence, it wasn't until May 2019 that the hospital decided to close 14 operating rooms. To their surprise, Aspegillus mold particles were found circulating the air handling system.
Patients were given warnings about potential risks while the rooms were disinfected. Needless to say, an entirely new air-handling system has been installed. It isn't known exactly what type of Apsergillus was haunting the corridors of the hospital, but those affected have been unlucky.
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Only 40 out of 180 known species of Aspergillus can cause infection. The nastier strains, like Aspergillus fumigatus or A. flavus, A. terreus and A. niger are therefore likely to be the culprits in this instance. These spores are commonly found in air, but are usually only harmful to those that have weakened immune systems - like kids in the hospital.
When infections to develop, they're usually quite nasty. One particularly brutal side effect is called a "fungus ball." Balls of apergillomas can appear in lungs and sinuses. This can consequently cause a whole bunch of other damage, which in extreme cases can lead to death.
Mold in any sort of living situation isn't advisable as it can cause all manner of unsavoury health issues. Patients, and in this case, parents of patients, have the right to assume that all areas of a hospital are kept free from any form of bacteria that could cause further complications.
Routine testing should always be in place to ensure healthcare facilities are the cleanliest they can possibly be. Sadly, in this case, someone missed the mark. This time, it had deadly consequences.