The family of a woman who is seriously ill with a rare fungal infection at the crisis-hit Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow say they only learned she had the bug after reading about it online.

Mito Kaur, 63, was admitted to the QUEH on January 7 with flu-like symptoms and pain in her chest. However, she went on to become seriously ill after developing mucormycosis, a very rare infection which is caused by exposure to mucor mould - a fungus found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables.

She is one of two patients who have tested positive for the infection, although the second is not serious.

It comes after prosecutors confirmed in January that they are investigating the deaths of a 10-year-old boy and a woman, 73, who had both contracted Cryptococcus - a fungus linked to pigeon droppings which is believed to have been spread through the hospital's ventilation system.

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Internal investigations are also ongoing after a patient died at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley after developing a bacterial infection caused by stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and deaths of two babies who contracted staphylococcus aureus at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed on January 22 that a patient was being treated for a fungal infection at the QEUH, but Mrs Kaur - a grandmother and mother-of-four - was not named as the patient.

Her daughter, Raj, 41, said the family had no idea how serious the situation was or that their mother was sick with the Mucor fungus before the press release was issued.

She said: “I thought surely that can’t be mum. Surely they would have told us but they hadn’t. They released the information publicly before we knew it was her.

"When we asked the doctors, they said it was Mucor and it was potentially fatal.

“We were in a complete state of shock. It was a terrible way to find out. We worship our mother. It was awful to find out she had contracted something in hospital which could kill her.”

Mrs Kaur's son, Bobby, said the family have been "losing confidence" in what they are being told by the health board.

He said: “One minute they would tell us she was improving, then another that she was getting worse. It has been so stressful.

“Now we don’t know what to believe. We don’t want a cover up. We want to know exactly what is causing our mother to be so ill.”

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Labour Health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “It’s unacceptable that Mito Kaur’s family feel they experienced 'failures in transparency' at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital when their loved one was struck by a potentially fatal fungal infection.

“The public and staff should have been better informed of symptoms and families directly affected kept fully informed.

“The health board, and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, must do better to end this culture of secrecy.”

In a statement, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "We are sorry that the family feel that our communications with them have been inadequate.

"The family have met daily with the patient’s consultant for an update on her condition. On Friday 18 January the consultant informed the family that test results had been positive for a fungus. At that time they discussed the treatment plan for a fungal infection.

"When the Incident Management Team met on Monday 21 January they agreed that a public statement should be made in line with national policy but that the family should be spoken to again before the media release was issued.

"A further conversation took place with the family that day and the release was issued the following day; Mucor was not specifically mentioned in that press release nor was the ward where the patient was being cared for.

"This release was published on the website after 6pm on Tuesday 22 January – the day after the conversation with the family - and shared with staff in an effort to be open and transparent."

"That same evening and over the next two days there were again detailed conversations with the family, including with the lead infection control doctor, about the infection and the ongoing investigations.

"During one of those meetings, the family advised that we should issue no further updates on the patient’s condition without their approval and we have continued to respect that request."