The Fungus: Mucormycosis

  • Rhizopus, more commonly known as bread mold, is the cause of mucormycosis.

  • Rhizopus is a common fungus found abundantly throughout our natural environment, especially in dirt and soil.

  • This fungus is exceedingly common, but is one that is also easily contained.

  • Mucormycosis was not the primary cause of death for any of the patients in the CDC report.

Who the Fungus Attacks

  • Mucormycosis mostly occurs in individuals suffering from critical, often terminal, medical conditions, whose suppressed immune systems are not able to fight off any infection.

  • Only those with severely compromised immune systems are susceptible to infection, in general, and are more likely to contract illness from this organism.

Response and Improvement

  • Children’s Hospital exceeded the State and Federal recommended standards of response and reporting.

  • Children’s Hospital followed a robust set of protocols.

  • Children’s Hospital launched an internal investigation and requested immediate support from the CDC and Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).

  • Children’s Hospital identified the linen as the likely source of the mucormycosis.

  • For the greater good of public health, Children’s Hospital approved the CDC to present and publish learnings on the mucormycosis outbreak, which is the reason for the medical journal’s article.

  • Children’s Hospital immediately improved processes for sterilization and linen management for immuno-compromised patients, which is above national norms.

  • The hospital enhanced their process for linen management by changing the linen supplier, improving the management of linens with the hospital, disposing of all old linens, disinfecting storage areas, enhancing sterilization of linens for high-risk patients and implementing added measures for those patients most vulnerable to infection.

  • Children's Hospital has restated findings and lessons learned from the Rhizopus outbreak in a communication to the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (PSO).

Click here to read "What the Media Got Wrong: Fact vs. Fiction."

Common Fungus is not a Threat

  • There are currently no concerns of mucormycosis impacting current patients or the public.

  • The issue occurred more than five years ago and was eliminated in 2009.

  • Children’s Hospital is committed to delivering the highest level of care and safety to all of our patients, especially those most vulnerable.

  • Children’s Hospital has been incredibly proactive in eliminating any opportunity for mucormycosis to exist inside the facility, and there have been no hospital-acquired mucormycosis infections since 2009.

Children’s Hospital’s Commitment to Quality Care

  • Patient care and safety are hallmarks of Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

  • Children’s Hospital’s Safety and Quality Department adheres to The Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Standards.

  • Children’s Hospital is an active leader in the Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety Network, a collaborative of 78 children’s hospitals breaking new ground to advance patient safety through the application of safety science techniques and evidence based guidelines.

  • Children’s Hospital is part of the network of hospitals that report data on the 10 most frequent hospital acquired conditions affecting pediatric patients, which the network in turn reports.

  • Children’s Hospital is a participating hospital that sets aggressive goals for the reduction of serious harm events and readmissions; the network has set a goal of reducing hospital acquired conditions by 20% and avoidable readmissions by 10% in the first year.

  • Children’s Hospital is part of the collaborative that has developed a "culture of safety” throughout every institution by having every employee, both clinical and non-clinical; undergo patient safety training promoting a motto of "All Teach, All Learn.”

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