“Everybody was taken completely by surprise because there had been no cases prior to 1999 of Cryptococcus gattii in the Northern Hemisphere and suddenly, there were a whole series of cases occurring in both humans and animals.”
- Joseph Heitman, M. D., Molecular Geneticist, Duke Univ. Med. Center
May 27, 2010 Durham, North Carolina - Recently Web MD and other internet medical sites have featured articles with headlines such as, “About 10 People Have Reportedly Died in Northwestern U.S. After Infection with C. Gatti. [sic]” Cryptococcus gattii is a soil and plant fungus species usually found in South America, Australia, Africa and New Guinea. That particular fungus was not discovered in North America before 1999 when clinicians on the island of Vancouver, B. C., Canada, in the southeastern cities of Victoria and Nanaimo, confirmed emergency room patients with pneumonia and meningitis were infected with C. gattii fungus.
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