Refuting the belief that kids in the United States are uninterested in science, 13-year-old middle school student Elan Filler has uncovered details about a killer tree-based fungus that may affect AIDS patients and others in California.
Filler helped scientists discover that an especially deadly species of the fungus called Cryptococcus gattiigrows on the Canary Island pine, New Zealand pohutukawa and American sweetgum trees. All of these trees are used as decoration and are common on the West Coast of the United States
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cryptococcus gattii kills over half a million people worldwide every year. People suffering from immune system suppression are most susceptible, such as AIDS victims. However, healthy people have died from it, too.
Researchers found that C. gattii remained fertile after being removed from the environment and were still able to reproduce, sometimes asexually. Dr. Deborah Springer of Duke University says that this illustrates the fungus’s fortitude and potency and suggests it can remain highly infectious even after extended periods of time.
FUNGUS AND MOLD ARE GENUINE HEALTH CONCERNS
While the fungus Cryptococcus gattii is found in trees, other forms can infest the home and become a health problem for those who have experienced water damage.
According to the National Association of Certified Homes Inspectors (NACHI), mold can be toxic to humans. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Symptoms include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and an outbreak of skin rash. Asthmatics are particularly susceptible to mold-based asthma attacks. Mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs of non-asthmatics and non-allergic people as well.
Areas with carpeting are at particularly high risk for mold growth. For mold to grow, it needs oxygen, moisture and a food source. Wall-to-wall carpeting can provide an ample breeding ground for mold and can hide it from sight so that you may not even realize you have a problem.
IF YOU HAVE A MOLD INFESTATION, YOU NEED EXPERT HELP
If you find mold in your home or workplace, do not hesitate to address the situation. Since mold and fungus can be very real health risks, you want to be sure they are removed quickly and thoroughly. Therefore, contact your friends at J&M Keystone. We have been tackling environmental safety concerns of San Diego residents for over 30 years. Call us today at (800) 368-2757.
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