Seattle Children's Hospital closes all main operating rooms to mitigate mold issue

SEATTLE — Seattle Children’s Hospital has closed all its main operating rooms due to a mold called Aspergillus, hospital spokeswoman Kathryn Mueller said.

>> Seattle Children’s Hospital operating rooms shut down after fungus discovery

Aspergillus, a fungus that can cause infections, was discovered in several operating and equipment storage rooms in mid-May.

Four of the operating rooms originally tested positive for the common mold, but all 14 were closed, as Mueller said the hospital is working to improve the air quality issue affecting that area of the hospital.

Mueller said the hospital has worked with industrial hygienists to conduct extensive assessments of the operating rooms and air handling and purification systems. Those assessments show deficiencies in the hospital’s air handlers and gaps in the air filtration system, which are believed to be key contributing factors to the air quality issue.

The hospital is in the process of making additional improvements to mitigate the issues, Mueller said.

Officials with the hospital also contacted the Washington State Department of Health, and investigators with DOH identified the areas that needed improvement.

A statement from the hospital says in part: "We continue to perform some cases in areas of our hospital that have been determined to be clear of Aspergillus, like our cardiac catheterization facility. We have also moved some surgical cases to our Bellevue campus."

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