Cancer Patients Die After Virus In Ward

16 December 2015, 19:30 | Updated: 16 December 2015, 19:36

Two patients in a cancer centre have died after the outbreak of a respiratory virus in a ward.


One of the patients at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow had "significant underlying health issues'' and the other had been discharged but later died in another hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) said.

In total, seven patients tested positive with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an illness that can cause pneumonia in people with weak immune systems.

The ward has been closed to new admissions and the health board said, of those infected, a third patient is giving "cause for concern'' and has been transferred to intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Two other patients remain in the ward but are not giving any cause for concern and another two have been discharged.

Two staff also tested positive for the virus, which is said to resemble a cold and is prevalent at this time of year.

The incubation period for RSV is five to seven days and the illness usually lasts about a week. Symptoms include a cough, runny nose, sore throat, earache and a fever.

The health board said parents with children showing symptoms and adults with underlying health conditions who are displaying symptoms should contact a GP or NHS 24 if they are concerned.

Dr Teresa Inkster, infection control doctor at NHS GGC, said: "Initially, four patients tested positive for RSV, one was community-acquired and the other three were healthcare-acquired, and appropriate infection control measures were put in place including closing the ward to new admissions.

"We also tested the other patients in the ward and a further three patients tested positive.

"Sadly, two patients have passed away this week and our thoughts and sympathies are with both their families at this difficult time.

"One of the patients who died had significant underlying health issues. This patient was extremely unwell as a result of these significant health issues and RSV was not the cause of their death.

"The second patient who died had been discharged from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre after being assessed as clinically fit.

"However, this patient's condition subsequently deteriorated and they were admitted to a hospital outwith the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area where they sadly passed away.

"A third patient is giving cause for concern and has been transferred to the intensive care unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, however the patient is stable.

"Two patients remain in the ward who have tested positive but are not giving any cause for concern as a result of the RSV.

"The other two patients have already been discharged home. We also tested staff, of which two tested positive and are at home recovering.''