Two dead after pigeon droppings infection at Glasgow hospital
Two patients have died at a hospital after contracting a fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.
The individuals are thought have caught the disease at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow after inhaling the fungus cryptococcus, which is found in soil and pigeon droppings. Control measures were immediately put in place.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC) said that a likely source was found in a non-public area away from wards and the droppings were removed.
The health board said that the small number of child and adult patients who are vulnerable to this infection are receiving medication to prevent potential infection which has proved effective.
Teresa Inkster, NHSGCC lead consultant for infection control, said: "Cryptococcus lives in the environment throughout the world. It rarely causes infection in humans.
"People can become infected with it after breathing in the microscopic fungi, although most people who are exposed to it never get sick from it.
"There have been no further cases since the control measures were put in place.
"In the meantime we are continuing to monitor the air quality and these results are being analysed.
"It remains our priority to ensure a safe environment for patients and staff."
As an extra precaution the health board has also installed portable HEPA filter units in specific areas, which filter the air continuously.
NHSGCC said that during the course of investigations a separate issue arose with the sealant in some of the shower rooms.
Repairs are under way and the maintenance team is working to fix the issue as quickly as possible with minimum disruption.
The health board said that as a further precaution, a specific group of patients are being moved within the hospital due to their clinical diagnosis and ongoing treatment.