Two patients contract pigeon droppings infection at Glasgow hospital

Officials immediately put in place control measures at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after two cases of cryptococcus were detected.

The infection is caused by inhaling the fungus cryptococcus, primarily found in soil and pigeon droppings.

A likely source was found in an area not open to the public away from wards and the droppings were removed, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC) said.

It added that the small number of child and adult patients who are vulnerable to this infection are being given medication to prevent them falling ill.

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.”

The two patients with the infection are said to be responding to treatment.

NHSGCC said that investigations had also discovered a separate issue with the sealant in some of the shower rooms.

Work has begun to fix the problem as quickly as possible, the board said.

As a further precaution, a group of patients are being moved within the hospital due to their clinical diagnosis and ongoing treatment.

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