Orange, CA, August 8th, 2011 -- Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a killer tornado in May of this year. The twister left a path of death and destruction that took only minutes to occur. Survivors of the natural disaster were thankful to have made it through the storm, but more heartbreak was to follow.
Within a short time of the devastation caused by the tornado, some area residents became ill and a few even died from a relatively rare fungal infection. This quickly got the attention of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The culprit was identified as mucormycosis, a term used to describe fungal infections caused by fungi in the order Mucorales. Species in the Mucor, Rhizopus, Absidia and several other generas are most often implicated. There are two main types of infection that people can get, and these depend on the route of exposure. In the pulmonary or sinus form, exposure occurs by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. These spores can cause an infection to develop in the lungs, sinuses, eyes, and face, and in rare cases can spread to the central nervous system. In the cutaneous form, the fungus can enter the skin through cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds, or other forms of trauma to the skin.
“The fungi that cause mucormycosis are typically found in the soil and in association with decaying organic matter,” reported Brian Mcfarland, Vice President of Legends Environmental Insurance Services, a leading provider of insurance coverage to the environmental industry. “Some of these fungi, such as Mucor, are also found in indoor environments following a flood or other water damage events leading to mold growth in buildings. Indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental testing can identify its presence and help lead to preventive measures to prevent outbreaks,” he continued.
Legends recently sponsored an educational video about Mucor and mucormycosis, it can be seen at:
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