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Seattle Children's Hospital fungus
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Seattle Children’s Hospital shuts down operating rooms after finding fungus

(KIRO 7 file photo)

A block of operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital have been shut down, after “air tests” detected a potentially dangerous fungus.

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The fungus is known as Aspergillus, and is common, and usually harmless. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases who are exposed could develop allergic reactions, or even infections.

“Patient safety is our top priority, and we are taking this situation very seriously. All affected operating rooms have been closed and will remain so until we are confident that the areas are clear of Aspergillus,” Seattle Children’s representative Alyse Bernal told KIRO Radio.

Bernal notes that the risk to patients is “very low,” but they’ll be reaching out to anyone who might have been exposed.

The hospital has hired an “industrial hygienist” to find the source of the fungus and clean it up. Surgeries set to take place in affected rooms have either been postponed, diverted, or moved to the hospital’s Bellevue campus.

Seattle Children’s did 11,498 outpatient surgeries and 4,586 inpatient surgeries across their facilities in the 2018 fiscal year, according to hospital statistics.

The hospital has roughly 50,000 annual emergency department visits and 38,000 urgent care visits across all locations.

KIRO 7 TV Staff contributed to this report

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