Tin Shui Wai Hospital announces incident of bugs being found in wooden floor cabinets

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority

     Regarding an incident of bugs being found in wooden floor cabinets, the spokesperson for Tin Shui Wai Hospital (TSWH) made the following announcement today (August 11):

     Tin Shui Wai Hospital today received notification from the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) that the removal of 71 wooden floor cabinets with bugs found has been completed. ArchSD was earlier requested to carry out a comprehensive investigation when several reports of finding bugs had been received by TSWH. Inspection of 465 wooden floor cabinets in different locations of the hospital has been completed by ArchSD and bugs were found in 71 cabinets.

     The 71 affected floor cabinets have already been removed by ArchSD. Mitigation measures including pest control and deep cleaning have also been carried out by TSWH.

TSWH and ArchSD will take appropriate actions to follow up on the remaining 394 non-affected wooden floor cabinets. The bugs found in the cabinets were identified by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to be Dienerella costulata (brown scavenger beetles). These bugs are not a vector for human communicable diseases but may irritate respiratory allergy, similar to how household dust mites can. These bugs are a common insect pest of stored products and usually inhabit moist and fungi-infested environments.

     In February this year, bugs were first found in a floor cabinet in TSWH.

The individual incident was followed immediately with appropriate pest control and deep cleaning measures, and the floor cabinet concerned was subsequently removed by ArchSD. In late March, another report of bugs being found in a cabinet was received in TSWH. ArchSD was alerted again and relevant actions were taken to remove the floor cabinet concerned.

While mitigation pest control and cleaning measures were arranged by TSWH immediately, ArchSD carried out a conscientious visual inspection of all cabinets and no bugs were found. In view of the possible reappearance of bugs, close surveillance of all wooden floor cabinets by TSWH and ArchSD was conducted.

     In May, TSWH received another report of bugs appearing in a wooden floor cabinet. TSWH and ArchSD agreed to step up inspection of all floor cabinets by cutting out part of the wood of each floor cabinet for observation for a period of three to five days to assess the risk of bug infestation.

Once bugs were found, immediate mitigation measures such as pest control, deep cleaning and removing the floor cabinet concerned would be taken. TSWH facilitated the process and ensured the implementation of mitigation measures and ArchSD also sped up the surveillance process for patient safety. During the surveillance period, no interruption of clinical services was reported.

     Preliminary findings revealed that the cabinets were placed in an environment in the construction site that was not thoroughly dry and enclosed before installation. After thorough inspection of all floor cabinets, ArchSD confirmed that a total of 71 floor cabinets located in various locations were affected.

The cabinets were used to store general utensils and document files. ArchSD has completed all inspection works and removed all affected floor cabinets today. During the process, no service interruption was reported.

ArchSD will reinstall floor cabinets at the departments concerned and inspect the environment to avoid recurrence of similar incidents.

     TSWH has reported the incident to the Hospital Authority Head Office. A task force will be appointed to supervise and to closely monitor the follow-up actions to be taken with ArchSD.

Published on: 2017-08-11

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