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National Library of Medicine
Institutes of Health
Fungus Found in Sinks Can Cause Serious Infections
the cause of an outbreak of hard-to-treat cornea infections in contact lens
By Robert Preidt
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
28, 2011. (HealthDay News) -- Disease-causing strains of the fungus Fusarium are
present in bathroom sink drains, which may be a common source of infection
in humans, according to a new study.
well known for causing diseases in agricultural crops, but some species of
the fungus can cause potentially dangerous and even fatal infections in
For example, Fusarium was
the cause of an outbreak of fungal keratitis (infection of the cornea) among
contact lens wearers in the United States in 2005-2006.
can be difficult to treat because Fusarium is
resistant to many antifungal drugs, explained Penn State researchers.
samples taken from nearly 500 sink drains in 131 businesses, homes,
university dormitories and public facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and California.
At least one Fusarium isolate
was found in 66 percent of the drains and in 82 percent of the buildings.
About 70 percent of those isolates were from species most frequently
associated with human infections.
two-thirds of sinks found to harbor Fusarium,
it's clear that those buildings' inhabitants are exposed to these fungi on a
regular basis," lead investigator Dylan Short, of the College of
Agricultural Sciences, said in a university news release. "This strongly
supports the hypothesis that plumbing-surface biofilms serve as reservoirs
for human pathogenic fusaria."
The study is in
the December, 2011, issue of the Journal
of Clinical Microbiology.
State, news release, Dec. 21, 2011
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