Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Fungal disease triggered by alleged insufficient cleanup

November 30, 2009
COLUMBUS, OH — The victim of a fungal disease that developed after a high-pressure water line flooded the kitchen near her workstation is blaming the ailment on a "bungled cleanup effort," according to The Lantern.
Ohio State University workers began cleaning the affected areas the day after the flooding, strategically placing fans to dry affected areas and removing water-soaked ceiling tiles, the story stated.
According to the story, two months after the March 12 flooding, Olga Stavridis, whose desk was under some of the tiles that were removed, was hospitalized with histoplasmosis and had a fist-sized portion of her lung removed.
Environmental consulting firm Lawhon & Associates Inc. was hired to perform indoor air quality tests and found no unacceptable levels of mold, the story noted.
According to the article, despite several requests from employees to have the suite tested for histoplasmosis spores after tests for mold came back negative, the tests were not performed until November after several more employees mysteriously fell ill.
Stavridis said: "I am just so sorry that it has taken me losing part of my lung, lymph nodes, damaging steroidal treatment and months of my life to light the fire under someone to address the real problem. I can’t believe that I was so lowly regarded and put in harm’s way by my employer to save money. I hope that whoever made the decision to just prop open my ceiling tiles and blow fans down to ''dry out'' the wretched smell will realize that blowing all those spores of dried up bat dropping into my respiratory system caused me to suffer greatly."
After the alleged inadequate cleaning and supposed insufficient testing was addressed, workers were advised to see personal physicians or Employee Health Services and were given the option to work from home, the story added.
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