Navigation Links
Dangerous Fungus Now Endemic in Pacific Northwest: CDC
Date:7/22/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cryptococcus gattii -- an airborne fungus that can cause life-threatening illness -- is an emerging infection in the Pacific Northwest, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

While C. gattii infections are rare -- only 60 cases have been reported since 2004 -- they can be severe and even fatal, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in the July 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"C. gattii is still rare so we don't want people to panic or to misunderstand the risk of infection, but it is serious," said co-author Julie Harris, of CDC's National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases.

Harris explained that people get the infection by breathing in the spores of the fungus, which live in the environment and are usually found in the bark of certain trees and the surrounding ground.

C. gattii infection causes a prolonged cough, shortness of breath, headache, fever, weight loss, and, in some patients, a stiff neck, according to Harris. The fungal infection is not contagious among people, she added.

Symptoms can take months to develop after exposure, with the median time being six to seven months, and incubation periods as short as eight weeks and as long as 13 months.

Of the 60 reported U.S. cases of C. gattii since 2004, 43 were in Oregon, 15 in Washington and one each in California and Idaho, the report noted.

Among the 47 patients whose medical information was known, 81 percent had another underlying disease -- including three patients with HIV -- that could have made them susceptible to C. gattii infection, the report indicated.

Nine of the patients who were tracked after becoming infected (20 percent) died due to their infection, and six others died with the infection. But only two of the nine who died due to C. gattii had no predisposing condition, the findings showed.

Harris noted that the total number of cases of C. gattii infection is unknown, because only the more severe cases tend to be reported. But she expects to see more mild cases as people become aware of the infection.

"We don't know at this point what the true case fatality rate is," Harris said. "As with any new disease, what you usually see is that mild cases go undetected, so probably the case fatality rate is going to be lower than what we are seeing right now."

Treatment for C. gattii consists of six to eight weeks of intravenous anti-fungal medications, followed by six months or more of oral fluconazole and it "is not always a pleasant treatment," Harris added.

At the moment, C. gattii appears to be confined to the Pacific Northwest. It could spread, but Harris said that might not happen because "fungi need very special environmental conditions to survive and to propagate."

Why this infection -- typically a tropical disease -- is now cropping up in the United States is not known, Harris stated. It is endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea and has been seen in northern Africa, Asia, Brazil, Columbia and parts of the Mediterranean, she said.

However, the type of C. gattii seen in the United States is uncommon in other parts of the globe, according to the report, which noted that one Pacific Northwest subtype has never been seen before.

The CDC is also aware of 52 cases of infection among animals.

"It can be fatal to animals. Animals are closer to the ground, they're sniffing around, so we think they are probably more susceptible to infection than humans," Harris said.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University, said while the number of infections is small, C. gattii is an emerging infection that needs to be taken seriously.

"We never know which emerging strain of a bacteria or fungus is going to be the one we have to worry about," Siegel said. "This one, which is becoming hardier and more drug-resistant, is one that needs to be on our radar screen," he said.

More information

For more information on C. gattii, visit the Oregon Department of Human Services.

SOURCES: Julie Harris, Ph.D., M.P.H., staff epidemiologist, Division of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, New York University, New York City; July 23, 2010, CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New Book 'The Power of Rest' Reveals Americans are Dangerously Rest-Deprived – and More Sleep Isn't the Answer
2. Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish
3. Teens dangerously uninformed about OTC medication
4. Morgan and Morgan Provides Consumer Alert Center with Information about Dangerous Products
5. "Teen Toxing”: Dangerous Trend Developing in UK Schools
6. Freezing, Medicating Away a Dangerous Irregular Heart Rhythm
7. Hope for Inherited, Dangerously High Cholesterol
8. Varicose Veins May Put Some at Risk for Dangerous Blood Clots
9. More Familiar Roads More Dangerous for Drivers
10. Predicted Red Tide Could Make Shellfish a Dangerous Dish
11. Snoring Man Sets Bed On Fire - Snorebond.com Relates Dangerous Stop Snoring Story
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Dangerous Fungus Now Endemic in Pacific Northwest: CDC
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's ... President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. ... 2018 until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the ... national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps ... provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network ... advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City ... and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile coaching services ... by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise Agile Transformation ... Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS programs. Coveros ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, ... cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to ... breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), ... call and webcast on Friday, November 3, 2017, beginning ... ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / 9:30 a.m. ... 2017 financial performance and guidance for 2018, Hill-Rom executives ... enhance operational performance, and long-range financial outlook through 2020. ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017   Montrium , ... File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files ... , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected ... programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European ... platform to increase transparency to enable greater collaboration ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... Sept. 22, 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) announced ... now successfully helping those with the widespread pain associated ... diagnosed Amanda in Essex, England ... my hair, experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous pain, ... I cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how this ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: