Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 9, 2008

Fungus outbreak closes polyclinic

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:06 am

NST: MALACCA: A government polyclinic here will be temporarily closed following an outbreak of fungus there.
A faulty air-conditioning system is believed to have caused the fungus to grow on the ceiling and walls of the Ayer Keroh community polyclinic.
State Women’s Affairs, Family Development and Health Committee chairman Norpipah Abdol confirmed the presence of spores but was unable to identify the species or determine if it was dangerous.
“At this point, I can only confirm that there is a fungal outbreak at the polyclinic, and we will make a press statement when we get a report from the state Health Department and the Health Ministry,” she said.
The polyclinic is frequented by hundreds of people daily, especially those living in the Bukit Katil, Ayer Keroh, Bukit Beruang and nearby areas
A check by the New Straits Times showed that the spores had covered most of the polyclinic ceiling while some of the affected walls had been cleaned.
Sources said the polyclinic is expected to be closed for at least six months for cleaning and remedial works.
To facilitate this, the operations of the polyclinic would most probably be moved to the one in nearby Kota Cemerlang in November.
In September 2004, the RM557.8 million Sultan Ismail Specialist Hospital in Johor Baru was ordered closed after faulty air-conditioning led to the growth of aspergillus and penicillium fungi which spread throughout the hospital and contaminated the equipment.
Barely a month after that, the same problem was detected at the Alor Star Hospital.
The Alor Star Hospital shut down two of its seven operating theatres for three days after fungal spores were detected in the air. However, the hospital’s microbiology laboratory said the spores were not from the dangerous species which had caused the temporary closure of the Sultan Ismail Hospital.
The Ayer Keroh community polyclinic was built at an estimated cost of RM10 million under the Seventh Malaysia Plan and is located in Jalan Ayer Keroh Lama.
The cleaning and repair work is expected to include the replacement of ceilings and the upgrading of the air-conditioning and ventilation system. The interior of the polyclinic will also be repainted.
Various tests, including measuring the density of fungal spores in the air, are expected to be carried out.
Checks will also be conducted to determine if the spores could have spread through the centralised air-conditioning system to other parts of the polyclinic, such as the outpatient centre, dental clinic, X-ray unit, centre for the elderly and the quit-smoking clinic.

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