Linens Linked to Hong Kong Fungal Outbreak

Posted July 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm

After five cases of fungal-infected bed linen and two patient deaths at Queen Mary’s Hospital, a regional acute-care and teaching hospital with 1,400 beds, healthcare laundries in Hong Kong are facing questions from healthcare providers about contaminated textiles. Meanwhile, as the local laundry association begins a review of practices and procedures to improve industry standards, area hospitals are confronting a linen shortage.

Four laundries have stepped in to pick up the slack from suspended operator Sham Wan Laundry, after bedsheets and clothes were removed from hospital premises. These four, Tuen Mun, Butterfly Beach, Pik Uk and Chai Wan, already handle 60% of the laundry services in public hospitals, and have now picked up an additional 13% of the workload.

"The other four laundries have to do more to deal with the supply," said a Hospital Authority spokesperson, according to a news report. Additionally, back-up linen supplies are being taken out of storage, although the quantity wasn’t disclosed. The spokesperson also confirmed that the linen supply in the 15 affected hospitals is now "tight yet manageable." The contractor that runs Sham Wan Laundry declined comment, pending an investigation. Click here to learn more.

The situation in Hong Kong is reminiscent of one that came to light last year regarding several deaths in 2008-09 at a children’s hospital in New Orleans. Any launderer who would like to learn more about how to avoid contamination hazards related to the processing or storage of healthcare linens is encouraged to consider TRSA’s Hygienically Clean Healthcare certification program. Any operator with questions about Hygienically Clean certification may contact TRSA’s Manager of Certification Programs Angela Freeman at or 877.770.9274, ext. 111.