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Environment Infectious Disease

Deadly fungal infection hits Pacific Northwest

11 years, 1 month ago

2338  0
Posted on Nov 03, 2008, 8 a.m. By Rich Hurd

Cases of a potentially deadly fungal infection typically seen in tropical climates have been reported in Oregon and Washington.

Cases of a potentially deadly fungal infection typically seen in tropical climates have been reported in Oregon and Washington.

Nineteen cases of disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcus gattii have been confirmed in Oregon and Washington since 2004. Approximately 20% of those struck by the disease died and the remainder required prolonged hospitalization.

Researchers say that the outbreak is noteworthy because half of cases occurred in healthy people, whereas such infections are usually only seen in people with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS.

There have also been outbreaks of the disease in Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 25 people in British Columbia are affected by Cryptococcus each year, and approximately 1 person dies from the disease.

Cryptococcus is considered an emerging disease, and experts believe that it will become much more prevalent in North America over the coming years.

48th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC)/Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) 46th Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., Oct. 25-28, 2008.

 

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