Fungus blamed in hospital deaths

(WDSU) It’s been several years since five children died at a Louisiana Children’s Hospital, but a report detailing those deaths — in a medical journal — is just now putting a spotlight on what happened and raising questions about how such tragedies can be prevented.

The report in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal notes that in 2008 & 2009 the children, who all suffered from severe immune deficiency illnesses died after they contracted a common fungus that found its way onto hospital linens.

Each patient, ranging in age from infant to teen, contracted mucormycosis, a fungal disease caused by fungi found in soil and on leaves, and all later died due to complications.

According to a hospital spokesman, while it wouldn’t normally be fatal to a healthy child, the children in these cases all had compromised immune systems. While it could have contributed to their deaths, it wasn’t the primary cause.

“We support the article,” said Brian Landry, vice president of marketing at Children’s.

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