A Tropical, Fatal Fungus Gains a Foothold in the Pacific Northwest

By Smriti Rao | April 23, 2010 3:33 pm

fungus-mapA 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. C. gatti usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said. “This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people” [Reuters], says lead researcher Edmond Byrnes.

However, scientists aren’t sounding a public health alert because the death toll is still very small–in the United States, five of the 21 people who contracted the fungus in the have died.

The new strain of the C. gatti fungus has been found in both humans and animals like cats, dogs, and sheep, researchers write in the journal PLoS Pathogens. Because its such a rare infection, researchers warn that physicians could potentially miss diagnosing it.

story.fungus.dukeC. gatti is a tropical fungus, normally found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America; it arrived on our continent in 1999 via imported plants or trees. In the past five years it migrated from Canada’s British Columbia province into the United States. 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].

Infection occurs when someone inhales the floating spores given off by the fungus. The spores are known to lodge in the lungs and cause a persistent cough and breathing difficulties, and have also been linked to meningitis and weight loss. But unlike bacterial or viral infections, this fungal infection isn’t transferable and can’t be passed from person to person.

Treatment for the infection includes a long course of anti-fungal medication. 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” and that “it is an expectable evolutionary event in nature that has a slight amount of human fallout.” He adds that if this fungus follows previous patterns, its virulence should diminish eventually.

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Image: Duke University

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Health & Medicine
  • Ian Tindale

    …“our continent in 1999” — it’s here in the UK, then?

  • Lynn D.

    Five people have died and they aren’t “alarmed” yet when ONE person died in Mexico of “Swine Flu” it instantly became a “pandemic”. Go figure…..

  • Tim

    What won’t kill us? So far every thing causes cancer and most every thing can’t be treated. I do not see a problem.

  • MIke S

    Cryptococcus gatti fungus, 23.8% lethal, sounds significant to me.

  • Roxan

    I wonder how much of these funguses are coming from CHEM TRAILS? Those grids, Xs and blips in the sky, usually spewed out in 4 plumes from very high-flying white planes? I wonder also if this is what is causing the White Nose fungus in bats that’s causing their massive die off?

    CHEM TRAILS again: Please contact the politicians/Prez, the media and weather people and ask what’s going on with them. See if you have any luck. I never did.

    Also, it is curious how come the “Earth Day” people and other “environmentalists” NEVER acknowledge CHEM TRAILS.

  • AntiLieGuy

    publish my earlier comment you censoring traitors to humanity!

  • AntiLieGuy

    The chemtrails are hiding Planet X and thats whats causing the earthquakes!

  • AntiLieGuy

    Its probably another government-created disease (like lyme, aids, etc.) to reduce the population before we collectively realize that theyve lied to us for 26 years about Planet X and the global destruction it will cause in 2012. Its also the warning for the war of Armageddon which will see America destroyed by Russia, China and the SCO on 10-10, the same day as the next false flag to invade Iran. News here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16612974/War-News and http://www.xfacts.com

  • AntiLieGuy

    Pardon the traitor comment. It seems the URLs were being censored. My information is censored in many more places than not because it is truth.

  • http://pestilences.com rick

    Fungus, viruses, bacterial infections and more are now easily treatable. But you’ll never see the remedy on television, radio or magazines. Too many billions to lose from gullible victims.
    http://pestilences.com or try pestilences dot com

  • Chicken Little

    This one sure brought out the nutjobs!

  • jbidmt

    “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”. Nothing like the scent of fear to drive the sheep into the barn. On the plus side…more elbow room in the woods for the rest of us druids.

  • http://www.projectgreenlife.com/ultrasharpproducts Ultra Sharp

    The only thing that I have found and used to eliminate all deadly bactreia,virus, mold and fungus is the Miricale Minerial Suppliment better known as MMS.

    It helped me rid myself of several health problems includeing Nail Fungus. I’m confident it will eliminate this new fungus as well.

    The best part is it only costs about $30.00 for a years supply which inculdes shipping.

  • LMA

    As a former resident of the Portland, Oregon, area (and a likely future resident, too), I will keep watch for further developments about this. As I look at the map, I see that most of the known cases are located around the I-5 corridor. I wonder if the CDC is strongly thinking that humans (via shoes, cars, camping gear, etc.) are the primary vehicle for the spread of this spore.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Chicken Little. This site is usually a great source of information for people whose occupation or course of study didn’t include Scientific-Lingo 101, but who are still interested in the progress of such a rapidly evolving field. I wonder what part of this article set off the truly non-scientific individuals. Perhaps they were infected by the above mentioned spores and should seek immediate medical help…?

    11. Chicken Little Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 4:37 am
    “This one sure brought out the nutjobs!”

  • AntiLieGuy

    The idiots calling people nutjobs are the true idiots. To ignore three years of chemtrail spraying everyday globally, all the earthquakes and volcanoes, the “doomsday” seed vault, all the underground bases, all the ancient civilizations telling us about Planet X, and three years of Russian threats to nuke us truly makes one an idiot. Besides, one only has to do a little research to conclude that AIDS, Lyme, and the bird/spanish/pig flu were created in labs. Its also worthy to note that Joseph Moshe revealed that Baxter Pharmaceutical was going to release a bioweapon in Ukraine 3 months before it happened. So whos the nutjob, the ones figuring out government evils or the stupid sheeple who believe everything theyre told??

  • caroline carter

    I contracted morgellons through chemtrail spraying. I can assure you I am not a nut job. I am a CAM Practitioner and Clinical Nutritionist. I use a dark field microscope in my practice. When my area in the UK was heavily sprayed I took samples of strange webs as well as rain water and put them under my scope. I still have the photographs. I recently had a severe outbreak of morgellons and some of the fibres and bacteria that came from my body were the very same as samples I had collected following the spraying.
    My photos are on flickr under morgellons cyprus for those who would rubbish my statement.

  • AntiLieGuy

    Caroline: those people who use terms like “nutjob”, “tinfoil hat”, and “conspiracy theorist” are almost always paid government liars and theres tons of them online. A few of them are very stupid sheeple who have been brainwashed by the evil illuminati’s mind control programs, of which TV is the worst. Your morgellons is also a government-created disease, one of the pestilences of the last days in the Bible. What amazes me is why all the stupid sheeple always want to talk about and track chemtrails without ever figuring out WHY they do it every day globally for over three years now that Ive been paying attention.

  • JustAVisitorToThePlanet

    Ooookay….let’s all calm down and focus on a very basic fact within this story. This ‘new’ (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) “fungus” is supposedly getting a toe-hold in the Pacific Northwest. How convenient. Apart from the PN being one of the more damp places in the country (and correct me if I’m wrong here but molds/spores/fungus just love moisture), the PN also just happens to be one the most liberal parts of the country, liberal as in “well-informed, free thinking, [generally] well-educated” people. Now, Lord knows that the developing gestapo tactics being unvield in the country at the speed of light cannot even allow such people to get in the way of their nefarious agenda, now can they? Of course not. So, it doesn’t surprise me that the PN has become ‘a target’ for whatever unholy thing it is that has been unleashed on those unsuspecting citizens. Let’s all hope that reports of [something akin to] mass deaths don’t start coming out of that region. (Yet, if we did, it would be a strong indicator that something other than a ‘tree bark fungus’ (puhleeze) was at work.) Try to have a good day, in spite of what the bastards are doing to us all!

  • Zachary

    These comments are golden insanity, keep ‘em coming!

  • Johnson

    There you go again you crazy conspiracy theorists. Just because most of the “newly discovered” horrible disease agents just happen to have been experimented on years earlier by the government labs in the exact same area where the disease first makes its appearance does not mean that it was made and spread by the government. Just because diseases like AIDS and cancer and the others look exactly like the disease that our western governments have been developing in their bioweapons laboratories does not mean that they are the ones who made the stuff. It is just coincidence. In Israel, for example, the Jewish population often likes to take over Palestinian cities. All of a sudden by pure coincidence a Palestinian city’s entire water system gets contaminated with a deadly bacteria that seems resistant to any normal cleaning methods. Several Palestinians die, they realize the problem, and leave the City till they can fix the problem. The Jewish soldiers move in, put in the right chemicals to remove their bioweapon, I mean the unknown bacteria from the water. They then declare to the world that “the Palestinians were such racists against the poor defenseless Jews that they preferred to leave their city than to live in close proximity to the innocent Jewish settlers (land-thieves)”. The coincidental appearance of Bacteria in the city water supply is almost never mentioned. After all, did you know this was happening? Did you ever see a major TV news organization reporting on it??? Such coincidences, although quite regular especially in the past, are nothing but pure coincidences. And you conspiracy nuts better stop making up stories to make it look like some government was involved in it.

  • NotAnObot

    I am getting the impression that no one trusts or even likes our precious federal government.

  • Larry Caldwell

    The PNW is prey to hundreds of invasive species. Many people do not know that the Himalaya blackberry is not native to North America. The dry rot fungus that destroys so many houses is also native to Asia. Port Orford Cedar has almost been wiped out by Phytophthora lateralis, which is another introduced pest. Over the next few centuries, all of the rain forests of the PNW will be wiped out by encroaching English ivy. Cryptococcus gatti appears to be just another nuisance like the Aspergillus fungus, that sometimes infects healthy people but is only a serious problem for people with impaired immune systems.

  • Kevin

    Don’t you see that the chemtrails are the only things keeping us alive? Without diligent spraying by the federal government, the Interlopers would likely be siphoning your precious bodily fluids as we speak! Counter-evidence is only Interloper propaganda spread by their agents in the underground. Have they gotten to you with their mind-altering EM radiation? Plastics are their tools of submission!

  • badnicolez

    All I can say is…wow.

  • Chicken Little

    It’s a waste of time to talk to people who plug both of their ears and scream. I love conspiracy theories more than most, but I make sure to keep a healthy sense of humor going. When you lose that you become a raving lunatic.
    If there are super powerful people or beings with the ability to control the rest of us, what’s taking them so long? If they already control us, how am I asking this question?

  • Overlord

    @Chicken Little -
    Because I am allowing you too…Mwahahaahaha

  • Anita

    From reading the above, I’d say a little non-native fungus in the Pacific Northwest is the least of our worries.

  • Druid

    I wish the author had included a timeline in the article detailing when and where each case appeared whether or not it was fatal. Twenty cases in five years doesn’t seem like many but I would like to see if there are time clusters.

  • http://atrocpical,fatalfungus dean

    not much have i heard from cable but can read about the fungus on line is it for real or just something being said on line … not sure what to say or think.

  • boston_denyba

    If the government is trying to control us they’re doing a pretty crappy job.

  • SasIAm

    A elderly friend of ours had an internal fungal infection that the doctors were not able to halt. I told her to drink 2 – 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar daily (mix with water) and minimize foods that keep insulin levels higher than they should be. It worked.

  • WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?

    WHAT DOES A TREE LOOK LIKE WHEN IT IS INFECTED WITH C. GATTI?

    ANY PHOTOS ONLINE WHERE WE CAN VIEW THE SICK TREE?

    SEEING MAGNIFIED PHOTOS OF THE ACTUAL PATHOGEN DOES NOT HELP US TO IDENTIFY SICK TREES IN OUR BACK YARDS (OF WHICH THERE ARE SEVERAL).

    (THERE ARE SO MANY TOXINS & POISONS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT, IT’S A WONDER THERE ARE NOT MORE SICK TREES AND PEOPLE.)

    THANKS.

  • http://www.musicbymclain.com Andrew

    pretty sure i had this. ended up in the hospital for 7 days. MDs thought is was bacterial meningitis, but failed to grow out any cultures. i am an avid outdoors enthusiast, 28 years old and live in seattle. signs and symptoms all match up with lifestyle and timeline of events. scary stuff.

  • tree hugger pro.

    I am a timber cruiser and measure hundreds of trees,plus,walk 10′s of miles,every week,throughout the great pac west(wa. or. id. mt. ak.ca.wy.)420 years.like a better description of SYMPTOMS and what looks like on tree,also take this very seriously. P.S. WILL WORK for diaper money,,, have Armadillo helmet will travel /God bless

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