Texas Healthcare Providers Reminded of Fungal Exposures Risks Following Deaths at Pennsylvania Hospital

Indoor Environmental Consultants (IEC) provides microbial pathogen testing services for hospitals to prevent infections due to environmental contaminants.

View Of An Operating TheatreLast week a Pittsburgh hospital that provides organ transplant services temporarily suspended future transplants to investigate an outbreak of fungal infections. To date one patient is fighting a fungal infection and three patients have died. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health officials are reportedly now helping to investigate the source of the fungal outbreak.

According to one recent media report from WTAE, two of the deceased patients stayed in the same ICU room and mold has been found behind walls in the area. The third deceased patient was not treated in the same area of the hospital.

Healthcare environments are especially sensitive to the presence of fungal pathogens due to the high number of patients with a weakened or suppressed immune system. This condition makes them particularly vulnerable to fungal infections such as aspergillosis, mucormycosis and others.

“While many people think of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) due to well-known bacterial infections such as MRSA, C. diff, and CRE, fungal infections can also be devastating to patients’ health,” said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. “Common types of fungi, such as Aspergillus which causes aspergillosis, are often found in indoor environments that have experienced water damage. Fungal spores can get into the air and be inhaled or settle on open wounds. Even materials brought into a part of a hospital where highly sensitive patients are treated may have pathogenic mold spores on them. Some past fungal outbreaks in hospitals have been associated with something as simple as laundry that has been cleaned, but was later contaminated and then introduced into a sensitive area.”

Healthcare providers in Texas and across the Gulf Coast can turn to the indoor environmental quality and microbial pathogen experts at IEC to identify exposure risks in their facilities. IEC’s services are also instrumental in identifying the source of an outbreak due to environmental pathogens if one has already occurred.


To learn more about this or IEC’s other building science and indoor air quality (IAQ) services, please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.


About Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.

IEC began operations in 2001 with some of the nation’s most seasoned professional indoor air quality consultants who already had over 70 years of combined experience. The indoor environmental quality firm specializes in field investigations and assessments of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Their services, related to fungal (mold), chemical, bacterial, asbestos and particulate pollutants, are offered throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Southwest. IEC is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a mold assessment company (ACO0114) and an asbestos consultant agency (100329).



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