It's in the dirt!

in STEMGeeks8 days ago

         Well, will you look at that! Such nice circular layers of fugus growing in a blood agar. It's not often we get something like this in the lab, but it's not exactly rare either. In fact, according to the CDC, most of the cases are from Arizona and California.

         You are looking at Coccidioides immitis, one of the fungus that causes Valley Fever. Valley Fever is a respiratory illness that occurs when you breathe in the organism. It's not too difficult to get them since they are in the environment. Like some of the more infectious diseases, this one is not contagious. Thank goodness!

         For context, the patient is in their 60s and living in St. George area in Utah. I don't have the fungal stains or the potato flake agar for this specimen. I don't usually perform those on my shift. I'm sure you could search online for some pictures of Coccidioides species.

         Here's the distribution map from the CDC:

         From the map, they do exist in Utah, but it's not cause for you to be fearing for your life. The truth is, most people might not know they have it and the symptoms go away in a matter of time. Like many fungal diseases, the most vulnerable are those with weakened immune systems. And the CDC does highlight this.

         I guess the fungus is racist as well.

         On a serious note, it's not understood why certain ethnicities are more affected. Even on the document I found on the California state government website doesn't know.

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/VFRaceEthnicity.pdf

         If you ever need a good reason to wear masks outside during a dusty day in this part of US, this could be it.

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So did you get this sample to test because they were trying to work out what was wrong with the patient or because he was dead already? Why the East-West divide on distribution, and what drugs kill fungi?
Sorry, if you didn't create interesting posts, I wouldn't have as many questions!

 7 days ago 

Yeah, guess doc wanted to see what was wrong with patient. It’s not hard to assume flu at first due to symptoms.

The fungus only grew in first quadrant of the agar plate.

And no, I don’t know what drugs are used to these.

Yeah, guess the doc wanted to see what was wrong with the patient. It’s not hard to assume flu at first due to symptoms.

Which makes me wonder what triggered him to get the tests done as the symptoms would have been so similar...As for the treatment, I'll log into MiMs and have a look :-)

Anyway, best wishes for the upcoming Thanksgiving and I'll be looking forward to the table decoration post and to see if you can surpass last year's wonderful effort :-)

 7 days ago 

It was a general respiratory culture. So, we just so happened to pick it up before a more specific fungal culture was ordered.

I work during Thanksgiving this year, so there may not be flashy stuff. I might have some stuff for Christmas.

Do you build medicines from those samples?

 7 days ago 

Nah, these are kept for a time before destroyed.

it was so close to having idiot in its name, we were on the verge of grateness :))

 7 days ago 

There will be next time.

I was referring to Coccidioides, it has "idio" in there but lacks a "t" :D

 7 days ago 

Ah that one definitely went over my head then.

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