Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mold in tainted medicine identified

Henry Ford Hospital identified Wednesday the types of mold it found in two vials of medicine supplied by a South Lyon compounding pharmacy.

One of the vials was contaminated with penicillium, a fungus that rarely causes illness, and the other contained aspergillus, which has been known to cause illnesses, especially among those with weakened immune systems, the hospital stated in a press release issued Wednesday.

The vials contained D50 — or dextrose 50 percent — which is sugar water, used to treat those with extremely low blood-sugar levels.

The contamination was discovered Oct. 16 by Henry Ford pharmacy technician Marilynn Hymon-Williams. The hospital immediately pulled all vials of the medication off its shelves and notified the manufacturer, Specialty Medicine Compounding Pharmacy.

Henry Ford officials analyzed the D50 vials that were removed from use, the press release stated. Most of them were free of contamination. However, one vial contained the penicillium fungus, and another vial contained aspergillus.

The South Lyon facility issued a voluntary statewide recall Oct. 18.

Officials at Specialty Medicine Compounding Pharmacy could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The vials were sealed, hospital officials said, and showed no signs of tampering. The medicine was used at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit but no other system facility.

There is no evidence anyone received a contaminated D50 shot, hospital officials said.

But the hospital is notifying 226 patients who were treated with D50 during their hospitalization at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit between July 25 and Oct. 16 to contact the hospital if they have any signs of fever, cough, shortness of breath or pain from taking a deep breath.

Aspergillus infections are treatable, officials said.

Henry Ford has established a call line, 313-874-7733 for those with questions about their health or about the recall

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