Fungus causes Seattle Children’s operating room closures

Routine air tests revealed the presence of Aspergillus, a mold that can cause surgical complications.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital have been closed for the second time this year after a type of potentially dangerous fungus was discovered in air samples.

Hospital spokesperson Kathryn Mueller said the latest discovery led to the closure of three operating rooms and two procedural areas, forcing the hospital to postpone some surgeries and divert others to other hospitals.

Routine air tests on Nov. 10 revealed the presence of Aspergillus, a common mold often found in the air — but which can cause complications for surgical patients.

All 14 of Seattle Childrens’ operating rooms will be closed later in the week as the hospital investigates. The latest outbreak of Aspergillus mold has been reported to state and county health officials.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many surgeries are being affected.

The latest discovery is the second time that the fungus has been detected in operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The previous outbreak led to at least five infections and one death, hospital officials said at the time.

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