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Outbreaks and Investigations

Outbreaks and clusters of mucormycosis are rare but when they do occur they are often serious. In hospitals, mucormycosis outbreaks of skin and soft tissue infection have been linked to contact with contaminated objects, such as tongue depressors. Additionally, clusters of mucormycosis have occurred in association with organ transplantation. The most recent investigation was in response to an outbreak of mucormycosis among victims of the Joplin, Missouri tornado in May 2011.

Information about Mucormycosis following the Joplin, Missouri Tornado

CDC is assisting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) with an investigation into a number of reports of fungal skin infection in people who were injured by the tornado that struck Joplin in May 2011.

People who had trauma that resulted in an open wound that is not healing or are experiencing continued symptoms, such as worsening redness, tenderness, pain, heat in the area of the wound, or fever, should see a health care provider for evaluation.

How can I protect myself from cutaneous (skin) mucormycosis if I am helping with the Joplin, Missouri tornado cleanup?

As of July 15, 2011, none of the cases in Joplin are in people who helped with cleanup, so the risk of infection among these persons is likely very low. Still, you can take these actions to protect yourself:

  • If you are handling debris, wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, pants, and gloves.
  • See your health care provider if you are concerned about cuts, scrapes, or other skin injuries.
 
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