Hong Kong authorities said Friday that an investigation into a fatal outbreak of a fungal infection among hospital patients had found that a drug used to treat them had been contaminated.
The Department of Health said that four batches of the drug Allopurinol, used to treat patients suffering from gout or undergoing chemotherapy, had been found to be contaminated with a fungus called Rhizopus microsporus.
The investigation was launched after a six-year-old with leukaemia died last year and two other patients were made ill in an outbreak of a rare fungal infection known as gastrointestinal mucormycosis.
It was not immediately clear if the contamination was responsible for the six-year-old's death, with the statement saying only that the patients who had contracted the fungal infection had also been treated with the tainted drug.
The manufacturer had been ordered to stop production immediately and samples had been taken for further tests, the department said in its statement.
The revelation is the latest embarrassment for the city's health authorities, already reeling from the loss of a dead baby's body and an investigation into corruption among hospital mortuary staff.