Eastern Colo. VA investigates fungal infection cases

DENVER – The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System is investigating two cases of fungal infection of the lung that occurred this summer, according to a news release.

The ECHCS has finished an inspection of the air handling systems that feeds its operating rooms, as well as those that feed the medical and surgical care units. The VA says these inspections have not indicated any basis for air quality concerns.

As an additional precaution, the ECHCS is working with a private sector contract consultant to test more samples of the HVAC system.

Last week, the ECHCS announced that it was postponing open surgical procedures until the inspections were completed. The ECHCS said in the news release that it believes the building is nevertheless safe for employees and the general public.

As a precaution, the ECHCS is continuing to delay all surgical cases and referring patients whose medical conditions place them at high risk to outside hospitals, according to the news release.

Samples from the two fungal infections have been sent to a reference laboratory in hopes of determining whether they're caused by the same pathogen.

Nationally, the ECHCS said other institutions have noted an increase in fungal infections and construction. The demolition of nearby buildings could be a source of fungal spores, the ECHCS said in the release.

Since the construction began, the ECHCS said it has increased the frequency of maintenance on its air handling systems as a precautionary measure.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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