Sunday, April 25, 2010

Deadly Fungus coming your way!

Okay now that I have your attention I lied. This fungus has a mortality rate of about 25%. That is if you were exposed. To be exposed you would have to either be a lumberjack and have the misfortune of cutting down the wrong tree or you replaced the tires on an affected car carrying the spores. It was studied between 2002 and 2005 in British Columbia,Canada. All of the fear mongering came out when a Duke University student published the findings in a paper he had written. I did dig through an analysis of the study by the CDC and came upon a neat summary. Hope it's not too technical for you:

Patterns of C. gattii Colonization

Figure 2. Distribution of positive and negative environmental samples for a systematic sampling along a 35-km traffic corridor traversing National Topographic System of Canada...

We initially investigated longitudinal patterns of C. gattii tree and soil colonization. Figure 1 illustrates these colonization patterns. Consistently positive swab and soil results were observed for some trees and their rhizospheres over 2–3 years, and these were designated "permanently colonized." For other trees, an initial positive swab result was followed by a series of negative samples, which indicated a transient presence of C. gattii in these locations. Intermittently positive swab and soil results were also observed, in which the series of samples effectively oscillated between positive and negative for C. gattii over time with no discernable seasonal pattern. This intermittent positivity was probably due to fluctuations in the cryptococcal population over time, above and below limits of detection. This situation might arise following the introduction of C. gattii to a new location or substrate.

Simply put they did a couple of hundred samples. Some of the samples came up positive and some came up negative. It seems this fungus either dies off or is crowded out by other molds. I've studied molds over the years. You wouldn't believe the number of types and sub types there are. There are literally tens of thousands of them but there are only about 8 known types that can make you sick. The most known is black mold Stachybotrys chartarum. The CDC reports that these types of molds are not really toxic. I say bull! I've seen several cases of people exposed here in the Puget Sound area and must say the symptoms are not pretty. They included memory problems, headaches,bloody nose, and blood coming from the eyes and ears. In fact during a recertification class I was told to use not only the usual moon suit,gloves and respirator but ear plugs as well.

How do you get rid of mold? A cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water will kill it on hard surfaces. I've found that even small amounts mold on drywall can hide the fact that the backside is totally mold covered so you may want to cut out a section and check. On things like carpet or porous materials you'll need to throw them out and replace.

Keep your drums upright.


Tim said...


Yeah that's the main reason we want to move. Mold everywhere. We're renting and the Landass doesn't care.
When we sold our house it was supposed to be temporary dwelling.
We just want to find the right place.

BBC said...

or you replaced the tires on an affected car carrying the spores.

No worries, I drive a pickup in the woods. Hahahahahaha

Geez, a cup of bleach to a gallon of water seems pretty strong to me.

Demeur said...

Tim time to contact the local TV consumer advocate. They seem to be doing a better job than regulators.

Billy so what do you pickup in the woods? :)

That's the recommended ratio. I know it's strong but mold like old politicians are hard to get rid of.

MadMike said...

I don't think you lied :-) At least the dead 25% won't think so. This could actually be a little scarier than originally thought.

S.W. Anderson said...

At my high school back in the day, we used to attribute the sort of things Stachybotrys chartarum will do to you to the cafeteria food.

OK, it was a slight exaggeration.