The flood flooded the United States.The next health problem: mold

Natural disasters have a long history of making people sick.Reports range from valley fever cases After the Northridge Earthquake Spore-containing soil was thrown in California in 1994 Coccidia Bacteria enter the air and cause Aspergillus infection Victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami Inhale water containing bacteria to people who are infected and dead Fungus carried on the wreck The tornado from Joplin, Missouri was also in 2011.

But it is difficult to determine when the infection or reaction is related to the mold, because the damage caused by the disaster exposes the victim to so much material. “After these flood events or hurricanes, a lot of things happened: you not only have to deal with the house full of mold, but you also have to take the house apart, so there are plasterboard, dust and plaster and all kinds of things you need.” It can be inhaled,” said Tom Chiller, a physician and head of the Mycosis Department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It is difficult to sort out the effects of mold. “

Therefore, researchers face a dilemma: Their clinical intuition tells them that people are in danger, but they lack data to prove it. People with weakened immunity are always at risk of mold and fungal infections; their weakened defenses prevent them from removing the fungal spores we inhale every day, making them vulnerable to organisms such as Aspergillus and fungi. ferocious Mutant yeast Candida auris. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate More than 75,000 people are hospitalized with invasive fungal infections each year, costing the healthcare system approximately US$4.5 billion each year.

The most at risk are transplant patients receiving donor organs or treatment for leukemia, and taking immune system suppressing drugs to maintain recovery. Researchers say that these people should not be near moldy houses, let alone repair them, and they should stay away from floods.But in one Polls After Hurricane Harvey, the CDC and several hospitals in Houston conducted investigations on 103 immunosuppressed patients. Half of them admitted that they had gone back to clean up flooded houses. Only two-fifths of them said they were wearing protection. Facial mask.

CDC has been working with some of these hospitals on a more complex post-Harvey project, which has not yet been announced. The project reviews medical records for one year before and after the hurricane to see if immunosuppressed people have developed storm-related invasive fungi Infections. Mitsuru Toda, an epidemiologist at the agency’s mycosis department, said there is no clear signal in the data: “In general, we did see an increase in the number of invasive fungal infections after Hurricane Harvey, but The number of people in some hospitals has decreased. Some hospitals have increased, and the number is very small.”

She added that complicating the discovery is that some mold and fungal infections have an incubation period long enough that they may not show symptoms in the year after the storm. In addition, Toda said, some doctors in Houston told the agency that they preemptively placed the most immunosuppressed patients on antifungal drugs-which would protect these patients but would confuse any calculations of the hurricane’s health effects.

Ostrosky-Zeichner is one of these clinicians. “Theoretically, after major floods and hurricanes, we should see swarms of mold infections, but so far we haven’t seen them completely,” he said.

Researchers are also concerned that an estimated 40% of the population is much larger. They are prone to allergies and may react to mold and fungal growth in the house-as well as other populations, who can develop new allergic reactions after exposure. “For most people, the health effect we see most often is the respiratory system,” said Felicia Rabito, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the Duran School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “Serious reactions are like breathing problems; less severe reactions are allergic-type symptoms. However, if you have asthma and mold is the trigger, you may trigger an asthma attack, which is a very serious reaction.”

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