Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Hospital finds maggots in Hong Kong patient’s neck wound in second case in three months

Tests confirm presence of Sarcophaga larvae, from a common fly in the city

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2017, 9:07am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 September, 2017, 9:07am

A patient at Tuen Mun Hospital was found to have fly larvae in a wound on his neck, the second such case at the same hospital in about three months.

The bed-bound 62-year-old neurosurgery patient was found to have several maggots around the opening for his tracheostomy tube – a curved tube inserted into a hole made in the neck and windpipe – and left ear on September 24 and 25, a Hospital Authority spokesman said.

The wound was cleaned immediately, and the larvae were sent to the laboratory for tests by the hospital’s microbiologists, which confirmed that they were Sarcophaga larvae, a common fly in Hong Kong.

A specialist from the ear, nose and throat department examined the patient via bronchoscopy, a procedure to view the patient’s airway, and computed tomography scanning.

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Repeated examinations showed no evidence that the incident had brought about additional health risks for the patient, who was in a stable condition, the authority spokesman said.

The patient and his family have been given an explanation.

The authority said pest control was scheduled monthly in the ward concerned, and the last pest control service had been carried out on Friday.

After the incident, the contractor was asked to perform additional pest control services.

The hospital also checked all insect trap lights and found no obvious increase in the number of insects trapped.

The case was reported to the authority head office and the Centre for Health Protection.

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On June 10, medical workers from the same hospital found several Sarcophaga larvae in a 52-year-old female patient’s neck and near the incision for her tracheostomy tube.

The patient had undergone neurosurgery and was bed-bound with ventilator support.

After that case, the hospital said the clinical team normally changed the gauze around the patient’s tracheostomy every few hours. It reminded staff and patients to observe measures to avoid larva infestation, such as treating wounds immediately and dressing them properly to avoid breeding of larvae, as well as enhancing fly-proofing measures.