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Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Deadly Fungus Discovered

New, Deadly Cryptococcus Gattii Fungus Found in U.S.
 
Infections from a new strain are unpreventable and the strain is spreading.
 
Gattii - Yeast + spores.
 
The new Cryptococcus gattii fungus strain, magnified.

Image courtesy Edmond Byrnes and Joseph Heitman, Duke Dept. of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Christine Dell'Amore

National Geographic News

Published April 22, 2010

A new strain of hypervirulent, deadly Cryptococcus gattii fungus has been discovered in the United States, a new study says.

The outbreak has already killed six people in Oregon, and it will likely creep into northern California and possibly farther, experts say.

The new strain is of the species Cryptococcus gattii, an airborne fungus native to tropical and subtropical regions, including Papua New Guinea, Australia, and parts of South America. An older strain of the fungus was first detected in North America in British Columbia, Canada, in 1999.

No one knows how the species got to North America or how the fungus can thrive in a temperate region, experts say.

"The alarming thing is that it's occurring in this region, it's affecting healthy people, and geographically it's been expanding," said study co-author Edmond Byrnes, a graduate student at the Joseph Heitman Lab at Duke University.

Less common than bacterial and viral infections, fungal diseases usually strike people with weakened immune systems"part of what makes the recent deaths of otherwise healthy people in Oregon so worrisome.

People can become infected with Cryptococcus gattii by inhaling the microscopic organisms"and there's not much you can do about it.

There's no vaccination or other preventative measure available for the new strain, though the infection can be treated with antibiotics, the study says. And "there are no particular precautions that can be taken to avoid Cryptococcosis," according to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. "You can, however, be alert for long lasting or severe symptoms and consult a physician (or veterinarian for animals) for early diagnosis and treatment."

Appearing several months after exposure to the fungus, the infection causes a bad cough and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

On a positive note, fungal infections, unlike viruses, can't be passed from person to person.

(See pictures of a new species of glowing fungi.)

Fast-Spreading Cryptococcus Gattii Superfungi

The first U.S. Cryptococcus gattii cases were identified in 2005. It wasn't until the new study, though, that genetic analysis revealed that the fungus is a new strain that had originated in Oregon.

Of the 21 known cases involving the new strain, 6 have been fatal"about 25 percent. The new strain has so far been deadlier than the strain in British Columbia, which killed 19 out of 218 known victims, or 8.7 percent.

The organism has also attacked domestic and wild animals, according to the study, published April 22 in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Though the reason for the new strain's severity is unknown, "one thing fungi do that bacteria don't is they have sex with each other," Byrnes noted. (Related: "Rainmaking Bacteria Ride Clouds to 'Colonize' Earth?")

As with humans, nearly every fungus offspring represents a new combination of genes and their resulting traits. So it's possible that the new fast-spreading superfungi is the result of Cryptococcus gattii mating. (Learn more about human diseases.)

No matter how it arose, the tropical interloper looks like "it's going to stick around," Byrnes said, "at least for the foreseeable future."

More Health News >>

 

 

Comments:
A Note From Karen Doolan, http://herbsplus4health.blogspot.com
 
Most importantly, I would suggest small amounts of Silver Shield with Aqua Sol (18ppm) daily as a preventive measure and larger amounts if a person suspects that they have come in contact with this airborne fungus. Please email me if you would like more information.
 
In addition I would work on ways to improve your good bacteria to help improve the immune system responses as you would to fight Fungal Infections, Yeast Infections, Candida Albicans.
 
Here is an excerpt from Steven Horne's book, The Comprehensive Guide to Nature's Sunshine Products on that note.
 
Fungal Infections (Yeast Infections, Candida Albicans)
 
Fungal infections, usually due to a microorganism called Candida Albicans, are responsible for thrush, vaginal yeast infections, lowered immune response and problems in the bowels. Often difficult to diagnose, fungal infections are usually caused by the use of antibiotics, which destroy the friendly flora (probiotics) in the intestinal tract. Thrush in infants is a symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Infants with fungal infections are frequently colicky. Other possible symptoms include toenail fungus, vaginal yeast infections, athlete's foot, frequent colds and infections, sinus problems, and itchy ears. Anyone who has had antibiotics would be wise to do a yeast detoxification program.
 
Everyone has yeast in their colon, it is only when the yeast multiplies out of control that it becomes a problem. Yeast infections in the colon weaken the immune system, increase the risk of food allergies, increase respiratory congestion, and contribute to the development of intestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome.
 
It is important to restore the body's friendly bacteria with probiotics (friendly intestinal bacteria). Probiotics are the antidote to antibiotics. L.Reuteri is a strain of lactobacillus bacteria that are particularly aggressive at knocking down yeast. Probiotic Eleven is the best choice for restoring healthy flora over the long run because it contains eleven different strains of lactobacillus. Other probiotic products that may be helpful include acidophilus and bifidophilus. These products should ideally be taken about 30 minutes before breakfast on an empty stomach.
 
Even better, the capsules can be opened and the contents put into a pint of water, which can be injected rectally using an enema bottle. The solution should be held in the colon for about 15-20 minutes before expelling. This "plants" the bacteria right where they are needed and bypasses the stomach acid, which can destroy them. Probiotics can also be used as a douche for vaginal yeast infections.
 
There are a number or products that can directly kill or inhibit the yeast. The best choice is Yeast/Fungal Detox. Other products that are antifungal include garlic, caprylic acid, Caprylimmune, pau d'arco, tea tree oil, lavender oil and Paw Paw Cell Reg. Other antifungal herbs include purple loosestrife, spilanthes, usnea and oregano herb. Oregano essential oil can be used topically for yeast, but should not be taken internally due to its toxicity.
 
To eliminate yeast, it is also extremely important that simple sugars and refined carbohydrates be eliminated from the diet as these feed the yeast. It would also be beneficial to examine some of the other recommendations for helping to balance the colon listed under Inflammatory Bowel Disorders. (email me for more info).
 
For topical fungal infections Pau D'Arco lotion or Tea Tree Oil can be applied over the affected areas. Internal yeast detoxification is still important. For vaginal yeast infections, antifungal herbs such as Pau D'Arco can be prepared as teas or decoctions and used as douches.
 
It may also be necessary to rebuild the immune system after yeast infections. Blood Build, Trigger Immune, Ultimate Echinacea or Immune Stimulator may be helpful here.
 
 
 
Share the Health,
Karen Herrmann-Doolan, NSP District Manager 
Nature's Sunshine Herb Specialist 
Natural Health Educator
O: 704-966-6645
H: 704-588-7638
 
Visit my Nature's Sunshine Online Store:
www.mynsp.com/herbsplus  
Learn about the Body Systems 
www.herbsplus4health.com
Check out my Health & Nutrition Blog!

 

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