Fungus From Pacific Northwest Not So Dangerous – Part 2 of 3
Experts had been concerned because the new fungus seems to have some ripsnorting characteristics, different from those seen in other locales. For one thing, the North American C gattii seemed to be attacking otherwise healthy people, not those with compromised immune systems, as was the case in the past. But closer inspection reveals that not all vigorous individuals are vulnerable.
But “I don’t think everybody’s susceptible. Most of the people that have had the disease tend to be older males and they’re not necessarily the healthiest guys in the world. A lot of them had liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease. They were all things considered smokers”.
And many may have been taking steroids, which would put them at additional risk. Infection usually starts in the lung resulting in respiratory symptoms such as coughing and, in up to 20 percent of cases, progresses to meningitis, or infection of the membranes lining the brain.