The Cryptococcus gattii fungus is very deadly. It is killing one in four infected patients. The tropical fungus has been found in the Pacific Northwest. It infects humans and animals.
Where else will this deadly fungus spread to? The West Coast is expecting to soon see cases of C. gatti in ever more areas.
KTLA reports that “other strains of the fungus have been found in people in San Francisco and Los Angeles…One out four people infected with C.gatti have died.” The fungus is deadly even in people with strong health prior to the fungus attack.
Fungus Transmitted via Spores in Air
Discover reports that “In the United States, five of the 21 people who contracted the fungus have died.” The fungus attacks the health of humans after a person breathes in spores in the air that are from the fungus. The spores settle in the lungs; they cause a cough and respiratory difficulties. Some patients with C. gatti infection also develop meningitis.
C. Gatti is Not Spread via Person to Person Contact
This fungus cannot be spread via person to person contact. The Oregon Department of Human Services reports that the “incubation period is long and variable. Illness onset can be two to twelve months after exposure, with a median of six to seven months.”
C. gatti Linked to Trees
The C. gatti fungus is said to have arrived in the United States via imported trees and plants. Discover states “The fungus is thought to live on the bark of about 10 species of trees, including Douglas fir and western hemlock.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes C. gatti as an “environmental pathogen with a specialized ecologic niche on the basis of accumulated reports of its widespread isolation from domestic and native animals…increasing reports of isolations from native trees in temperate regions.”
The CDC adds “C. gatti is a globally established primary fungal pathogen with a specialized ecologic niche on trees and in the hollows of trees.”
I wonder if the spores can penetrate fabric? Perhaps it might be best, if out hiking in a wooded area, to wear a bandanna or some other cloth you can breathe through over the mouth and nose.