Navigation Links
Flesh-Eating Fungal Infection Can Follow Natural Disasters, Study Finds

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- After a natural disaster, doctors should be on the lookout for outbreaks of a rare but deadly "flesh-eating" fungal infection, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

That's the lesson, the agency said, from 13 cases of mucormycosis skin infections that struck victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado last year.

The May 2011 tornado was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killing almost 160 people and injuring more than 1,000. In the aftermath, doctors found that some victims with serious injuries were developing severe infections that ate away at the skin and underlying soft tissue.

It turned out to be mucormycosis, a fungal infection caused by a group of molds found in soil and decaying matter, such as fallen leaves and rotting wood. The fungus can attack various parts of the body, but skin infections occur when the fungus contaminates a wound.

The cluster of 13 cases in Joplin was a very large one, the CDC reported in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"A typical hospital might normally see one case in a year," said senior researcher Dr. Benjamin Park, a medical officer at the CDC's mycotic diseases branch.

All 13 victims, five of whom died, had been in the most severely storm-damaged areas of Joplin. They'd suffered multiple wounds -- including penetrating wounds in five people -- and most had bone fractures.

Those injuries were also often contaminated with debris from the storm, including gravel, wood and soil.

"Particulate matter was basically blown into them by the tornado," Park explained.

All of the patients had surgery to remove the infected, dead tissue, along with antifungal drugs -- though six initially got drugs that are not active against mucormycosis-causing fungi. It's not clear, the CDC team said, whether that made a difference in their outcomes.

"In real time, it's hard to know what you're treating," Park said. So doctors might preemptively start a patient on antibiotics (which fight bacteria) or antifungal drugs before test results are in.

The Missouri outbreak underscores the importance of early testing to get patients the right treatment, Park said.

"We want to raise awareness of this [infection] as a possibility after natural disasters," he added.

Even though mucormycosis-causing fungi are ubiquitous, they rarely cause problems for people, said Dr. Thomas Patterson, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Most often, the infection strikes people whose immune systems are compromised, from cancer or drugs used after an organ transplant, for example. And those are typically respiratory infections from inhaled mold spores.

Still, the risk of mucormycosis in healthy people with traumatic injuries has been recognized, noted Patterson, who also is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. And he agreed on the importance of early recognition.

"These infections are very difficult to treat," Patterson said.

But he also noted that for most people injured in a natural disaster, any infections will be bacterial -- though those, of course, also can become serious.

"It's important to remember that in these [Joplin] cases, we're talking about people who had extensive injuries," Patterson said.

And because of that, preventing severe injuries during natural disasters should help prevent mucormycosis cases, according to the CDC.

The public can take some steps of its own, Park said. If you live in a tornado-prone area, for example, you can make sure you have a "safe room" or some type of emergency shelter you can get to quickly. You should also be tuned in to your local area's tornado warning system.

More information

Learn more about mucormycosis from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Benjamin Park, M.D., medical officer, mycotic diseases branch, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Thomas Patterson, M.D., chief, division of infectious diseases, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Dec. 6, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers call for early diagnosis of flesh-eating infections
2. Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 28 Dead, 363 Sickened
3. Cases Linked to Fungal Meningitis Now Number 328
4. Texas A&M biologists prove ZOLOFT packs potential to fight fungal meningitis
5. Children failing asthma therapy may have severe asthma with fungal sensitization
6. How Long Should Mens Urinary Infections Be Treated?
7. HIV Drug Combo May Help Prevent Malaria Reinfection
8. HIV Infections Continue to Hit Young Americans Hard
9. AIDS Deaths, New HIV Infections Continue to Drop Worldwide
10. Lyme Rash Reappearance Probably Signals New Infection, Study Says
11. A comparative medicine study by Penn vet identifies a new approach to combat viral infections
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Flesh-Eating Fungal Infection Can Follow Natural Disasters, Study Finds
(Date:10/10/2015)... ... , ... The Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is ... defending race winner, Kevin Harvick, will battle it out for the checkered flag with ... the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As part of the opening ...
(Date:10/10/2015)... ... October 10, 2015 , ... In the inaugural people’s choice ... Best Place To Work in Jacksonville, amongst medium-sized companies with 25 – 99 employees. ... followed up with a celebratory gala on October 1st. , Many of the ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... ... With the FCPX LUT Vibrance pack from Pixel Film Studios, editors can ... Table that contains a mathematical formula for modifying an image. The LUT changes every ... 60 vibrant CUBE LUT files. , Inspired by many YouTube make-up tutorials ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 , ... ... now offering a special promotion on Invisalign, the orthodontic system that uses clear, ... The aligners are almost invisible against the teeth, which allow patients to complete ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... Stockton, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 ... ... year anniversary of their “Agents of Change” program, a community improvement initiative that ... The newest charity to benefit from the assistance of Confidence Plus Insurance is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
... people in the United States eagerly awaiting those July 4 ... their July 1 Canada Day celebrations here,s a prospect ... a smile on Mother Nature,s face: A new generation ... sky. That,s "green" as in environmentally friendly. ...
... of Nation,s HIV Burden Clustered in Only 20% of Counties ... The National Minority Quality Forum today launched a groundbreaking ... the HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities across the United States. The ... single location for the first time, painting a comprehensive picture ...
... National Minority Quality Forum Launches First U.S. HIV/AIDS Atlas , ... Minority Quality Forum today launched a groundbreaking HIV/AIDS Atlas ( ... of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities across the United States. ... in a single location for the first time, painting a ...
... , National Minority Quality Forum Launches First U.S. HIV/AIDS Atlas ... Quality Forum today launched a groundbreaking HIV/AIDS Atlas ( ... the HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities across the United States. ... a single location for the first time, painting a comprehensive ...
... for Fitness! , , LOS ANGELES, June 22 Imagine ... park or along the beach. Now a brand new product makes ... on wheels, but with a unique design to allow your "stair ... concept of fitness, will be introduced to California starting from June ...
... oral care solution to suit the busy lifestyles of ... Crown Consumer Brands today announced the re-launch of DentaBurst(TM) ... remain intact, an improved, longer lasting freshmint flavor as ... re-launch. , , (Photo: ...
Cached Medicine News:
(Date:10/9/2015)... 2015 Adheron Therapeutics, a privately held ... , United States , ... acquired by Roche.  Adheron Therapeutics has developed a ... a cell surface protein called Cadherin-11 in order ... inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... ® ) in adult ... NOCT study also assessed the compliance, safety, patient ... ® ) in adult patients undergoing screening, surveillance ... the compliance, safety, patient acceptability and tolerability of ... top line results for its phase III study, ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... DIEGO , Oct. 8, 2015  Trovagene, ... molecular diagnostics, today announced the presentation of results ... of its Precision Cancer Monitoring SM (PCM) ... be critical for physicians to determine appropriate therapy ... scientific officer of Trovagene is delivering the results ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
... 10, 2011 OXIS International, Inc., (OTC Bulletin Board: ... it will hold a conference call with investors on ... a.m. Pacific). During the call Anthony Cataldo, ... significant business developments, discuss the Company,s growth strategy, and ...
... March 10, 2011 BARRX Medical, Inc., a ... remove precancerous tissue from the gastrointestinal tract, reported ... issued the AGA Medical Position Statement on the ... of precancerous cells in patients with confirmed high-grade ...
Cached Medicine Technology:
Shielding's Standard Coat Apron with open back allows for freedom of movement, maximum flexibility and increased comfort....
Half aprons used to protect pelvic regions...
The front of this apron is tapered for maximum adjustability as needed. We can include a specially designed half-apron to be worn under the full apron for double protection in the abdomen/pelvic cav...
... design apron has elasticized back ... comfort. Shoulder pads are standard. ... in relieving weight off the ... attained by varying the position ...
Medicine Products: