Friday, April 23, 2010

Deadly Super Fungus in Pacific NW

Now this is good news. A deadly fungus has invaded the NW:
A rare but potentially life-threatening tropical fungus is spreading through the Pacific Northwest, researchers have reported.

The culprit is a new strain of the Cryptococcus gatti fungus, and is known to have been lethal in 25 percent of the reported human infections.
It's a tropical fungus that lives on trees. According to the article, it lives in Australia, South America and Southeast Asia, but has been brought over on tropical plants to the NW.

The fungus is thought to live on the bark of about 10 species of trees, including Douglas fir and western hemlock. Epidemiologist Julie Harris of the Centers for Disease Control says the primary victims of infection have been people who spend a lot of time outdoors, often in contact with soil, and those who do woodwork and construction [Los Angeles Times].
It's not contagious, but if infected, a human needs a long term course of anti-biotics, and it's been fatal in some cases, as noted. Not to worry, yet the worry has now been released.
While the new strain is “highly virulent,” lead researcher Byrnes says there’s no cause for panic–just for vigilance. Overall it’s a pretty low threat, and it’s still uncommon in the area, but as the range of the organism expands and the number of cases increases accordingly, it’s becoming more of a concern,” he says [CNN]. Epidemiologist Philip Alcabes, Ph.D told CNN that the emergence of a new, mutant C. gatti strain is “pretty normal”
When I first read an item earlier today about this story that wasn't as informative, just a "deadly fungus invades NW" kind of thing, my first thought was chemtrails. Seems it's the trees, not chemtrails. I also wondered why, if this has been around for ten years, it' making the news rounds now. 

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