A number of patients in Altnagelvin’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) have tested positive for a type of fungus, the Western Trust has confirmed.
The discovery has meant the transfer of patients from other North of Ireland hospitals to Altnagelvin’s ICU has stopped while the relevant patients’ families have been informed of the development.
A deep clean of the unit is also being carried out.
Aspergillus, a common type of fungus that grows on dust and can be found in heating and air conditioning systems, was found in a small number of patients during routine weekly patient sampling.
In a statement, a Western Trust spokesperson said staff are working to minimise the risk to patients.
The spokesperson said: “Aspergillus does present a risk to some groups of patients and we are working to reduce any risks posed by the environmental organism.
“These measures included a deep clean of the area, further air sampling and monitoring, more frequent patient testing and additional environmental protection work,” they said.
“The ICU remains open for admissions, however at present we have ceased facilitating regional transfers from other hospitals in NI.
“We are working closely with the Department of Health and Public Health Agency whilst we continue to monitor the environment in ICU, and have commenced the process of communicating with relevant families.”
Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan expressed concern following the development.
“It’s deeply concerning that a number of patients in ICU at Altnagelvin have been affected by the discovery of Aspergillus fungus,” said the MLA.
“The Western Trust must act quickly to get this under control and ensure the health and well-being of patients and staff is paramount.
“I welcome that work is already underway to reduce the risks, including a deep clean of the area,” she said.
“My thoughts are with all those impacted by this worrying situation,” she added.Tags: