Precautions Taken Following Alleged Fungal Infection Outbreak at Chermside Hospital

Fungal Infection Outbreak
Photo credit: Peter Baskerville/Google Maps

The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside warned immunosuppressed patients to wear masks when visiting for appointments and passing near construction occurring for a new hospital car park last week, as authorities investigate occurences of fungal infections that have been linked to two recent patient deaths.

Read: Protected Bushland in Chermside Bulldozed for Prince Charles Hospital Car Park Construction

Dr Muhammad Hussain, a 55-year-old doctor from Mango Hill, was the first fatality potentially connected to a fungal infection cluster at the hospital. He and recent heart transplant patient Adam Retmock, 45, both suffered from fungal infections prior to their deaths.

Photo credit: Chani/Google Maps 

Earlier this year, four other post-heart transplant patients allegedly contracted fungal infections, with another developing a lomentospora infection. Three aspergillus fungus types and a bacterial strain were reportedly detected in the outbreak patients. 

According to one St Vincent’s Private clinician, who asked not to be named, oncologists and haematologists at the hospital have advised at-risk patients to wear masks when on facility grounds or near ongoing construction activity.

Photo credit: Chani/Google Maps

The same clinician also said there is widespread belief among infectious disease and transplant specialists that the parking site excavation work has a high likelihood of being the underlying cause of the recent fungal infection outbreak.

Infectious disease experts advised the mask guidance amidst concerns the construction may be stirring up fungal spores. However, Queensland Health has stated there is no clear evidence yet tying the infections and deaths to the ongoing works. 

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said he would still undergo a heart transplant at Prince Charles, which has “a world-class transplant unit.” Authorities also reiterated no known link exists between the deaths and separate fungal detection in hospital storage zones.

Read: Companies Shortlisted For QLD’s New Hospitals, Expansion Of Major Hospitals Including Prince Charles Hospital

The heart transplant unit has undergone cleaning and affected storage equipment was discarded, officials stated. Recent air tests also showed no lingering fungus concerns, according to Queensland Health.

Published 23-November-2023