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:2/12/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... Healthcare careers in ... five most searched jobs via the website of healthcare staffing leader Aureus Medical Group ... travel nurse jobs , travel therapy positions and in travel and direct ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... growth in the field of long term care. With that, says Patrick Loughney, ... healthcare professionals in administrative roles in long term care environments. His company, which ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... Basketball is ... and integral part of the Peety PoppersTM series, sign language translation is featured in ... of health and wellness in Peety PoppersTM lessons has a sign language translator to ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... With the exception of restorative dentistry, to ... dental decay. With the recent approval by the FDA, there is a now a ... to fluoride varnish, SDF is very simple and quick to apply. The application is ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... ... Fitbody Personal Training offers outdoor training classes which includes an equestrian boot camp ... Located in Phoenixville, PA, the classes are structured as fun and friendly. , Fitbody ... to lose weight and tone up. This class offers a balance of exercises which ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  Innophos Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... specialty ingredients, today announced that it will host a live ... ET to discuss its fourth quarter and full year 2015 ... The press release detailing fourth quarter and full year results ... close. --> --> ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , February 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... nicht anders vermerkt)   http://www.sedar.com ... http://www.telestatherapeutics.com abrufbar.    --> ... des Unternehmens http://www.telestatherapeutics.com abrufbar.    ... (TSX:TST; PNK:BNHLF) veröffentlichte heute seinen Konzernabschluss des ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 12, 2016  SI-BONE, Inc., a medical ... ® ("iFuse"), a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) device indicated for ... National Government Services, Inc. (NGS), the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) covering ... , Maine , Massachusetts ... , New York , Rhode Island ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: