Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fungus Outbreak

September 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Health and Wellness, Latest News

CDC Watching Deadly Fungus Outbreak

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta has joined health officials in four states and the Canadian province of British Columbia in a review of a fungal outbreak that has made at least sixty people in the U.S. ill since 2004.

With the deaths of fifteen of 47 patients tracked – nearly a third – health officials say the fungus must be taken seriously. The fungus is identified as cryptococcus gatii, which attacks people who inhale spores found in the bark of certain trees and in the soil around them.  It has typically been found in tropical and subtropical climates, but arrived on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island in 1999.

Scientists aren’t sure how it got to the western United States in 2004 or how it mutated to a new strain.  Julie Harris of the CDC says the fungus could spread again but might not.  So far, Oregon has been hit hardest with 43 cases, 15 cases were reported in Washington, and Idaho and California logged one case each.  A July, 2010 CDC report says 81 per cent of the patients identified had another underlying disease that may have made them susceptible, but nine of the reported deaths were attributed directly to C. Gattii infection.  The other six were blamed on other direct causes.

The new strain, identified by Duke University researchers, is believed to be more deadly than that found in the earlier cases.

Symptoms include:

  • persistent cough
  • headaches
  • weight loss
  • fever

According to the CDC, where Julie Harris says the treatment is not always pleasant:  six to eight weeks of daily intravenous anti-fungals and six months or more of four-a-day oral medications.  Doctors are no required to report suspected cases of C. Gattii infection, but they are urged to do so.

You can be aware of this news and information that may help you or someone else.


One Response to “Fungus Outbreak”
  1. Fbarrett says:

    I’d be interested to know which types of trees — although probably it would turn out to be something that’s everywhere:) Maybe, since it’s been previously reported in tropical and subtropical climates, it’s just getting hardier? Or it hitched a ride with people from those warmer areas and the fungus finds the cold stimulating rather than destructive — like Russians and Finns leaping into the snowbanks after their time in the sauna.