UPMC announces death of 3rd patient who contracted mold infection

UPMC announces death of 3rd patient who contracted mold infection

PITTSBURGH — A third transplant patient has died at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospital after contracting a mold infection, officials said Friday.

The patient, who received a liver transplant, died Thursday night at UPMC Montefiore, according to UPMC chief medical and scientific officer Steven Shapiro.

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UPMC Montefiore is located next to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, where two heart transplant patients contracted mold infections over the last year and later died.

The cardiothoracic ICU at UPMC Presbyterian closed earlier in September after a third transplant patient tested positive for mold in an external wound. That patient remains hospitalized with a poor prognosis.

Shapiro said the patient who died Thursday at UPMC Montefiore had a rash that appeared to be fungal. Preliminary testing indicated that the infection is consistent with the infections in the three previous patients.

"We are doubling down on our efforts to understand the situation and to protect our patients," said Shapiro. "We are working through the weekend to determine if we will postpone future transplants. As a precaution, we are putting all transplant patients in UPMC Presbyterian-Montefiore on a new antifungal medication even though there is no sign of infection in any of these patients."

Infection prevention experts are working with the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, The Joint Commission and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a situation that we take extremely seriously. We are exploring all avenues suggested by our UPMC experts and outside experts," said Shapiro.

The mold is not a threat to staff, visitors or the majority of patients, according to Shapiro.