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Outbreaks and Investigations

Disease detectives collecting soil samples to test for fungus

Disease detectives collecting soil samples to test for fungus

When fungal disease outbreaks occur, CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch works with federal, state, and local and territorial public health officials and other partners to reduce illness and deaths and to learn how to prevent future outbreaks.

Fungal outbreaks have been linked to a variety of sources, including exposure to disease-causing fungi in the natural environment or injections with contaminated medication. With systems in place for early identification for these types of events, CDC and partners can continue to track, test for, respond to, and better understand emerging fungal health threats.

Some fungal diseases may be more common than previously realized, and rare but newly-emerging fungi are becoming increasingly problematic. Some types of fungal infections can be deadly if they are not identified and treated quickly, so early recognition is essential in order to reduce the risk of serious complications and save lives.

Recent Fungal Outbreaks and Investigations

Histoplasmosis in the Dominican Republic

Histoplasmosis outbreak among tunnel workers in the Dominican Republic, September 2015.

Fatal Gastrointestinal Mucormycosis in an Infant

  • CDC, FDA, and state health departments investigated a fatal case of gastrointestinal mucormycosis caused by Rhizopus oryzae in a premature infant in October 2014. Infection followed the use of ABC Dophilus Powder, a dietary supplement purchased from Solgar, Inc., Leonia, NJ.
  • Testing of the same lot of unopened Solgar ABC Dophilus revealed contamination with Rhizopus oryzae.
  • Solgar has voluntarily recalled lots 074024-01R1, 074024-01, 074024-02 (expiration date 7/31/15).
  • For more information about this investigation please visit the Fungal Rhizopus Investigation web page.

Histoplasmosis in an Illinois Prison

Histoplasmosis outbreak at a state prison in Illinois, August – September 2013

  • Number of cases: 78
  • Pathogen: Histoplasma capsulatum
  • Type of infection: pulmonary
  • Setting: adult prison in east-central Illinois
  • Source: likely related to disruption of soil contaminated with bird droppings
  • Outbreak investigation partners: Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Department of Corrections

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) in California Prisons

High rates of coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) at two state prisons in California's Central Valley, June 2013

  • Pathogen(s): Coccidioides
  • Type of infection: mostly pulmonary
  • Setting: Two prisons in California’s Central Valley
  • Source: Natural environment
  • Outbreak investigation partners: California Department of Public Health, California Correctional Healthcare Services, and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Resources and publications

Valley Fever: Diagnosis and Treatment

	Photo: Dr. Benjamin Park - Valley Fever: Diagnosis and Treatment - Medscape

July 24, 2013

CDC expert Dr. Benjamin Park talks to clinicians about diagnosis and treatment of valley fever, a respiratory infection caused by inhaling the airborne spores of the fungus Coccidioides.

More Information about Valley Fever
Valley Fever Fact Sheet [PDF - 2 pages]

Fungal meningitis after contaminated steroid injections

Multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other fungal infections associated with contaminated steroid injections, October 2012

For more details about this investigation, please see the Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation page.

Fungal Infection Outbreak: What Should Physicians Be Doing?

	Photo: Dr. Tom Chiller - Fungal Infection Outbreak: What Should Physicians Be Doing? - Medscape

October 31, 2012

CDC expert Dr. Tom Chiller provides clinical guidance related to the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak among patients who received contaminated steroid injections.

More Information about the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Fungal endophthalmitis after contaminated injections

Multistate outbreak of postprocedural fungal endophthalmitis associated with products from a single compounding pharmacy, March 2012

Fungal Endophthalmitis: Diagnosis and Treatment

	Photo: Dr. Rachel Smith - Fungal Endophthalmitis: Diagnosis and Treatment - Medscape

November 12, 2012

CDC expert Dr. Rachel Smith discusses diagnosis and treatment of fungal endophthalmitis, an inflammation in the intraocular cavities of the eye.

Mucormycosis after a natural disaster

Outbreak of mucormycosis after the Joplin, Missouri tornado, May 2011

Mucormycosis: When to Think Fungal Infection

	Dr. Benjamin Park - Mucormycosis: When to Think Fungal Infection - Medscape

October 3, 2012

CDC expert Dr. Benjamin Park explains to clinicians when to suspect fungal infections.

More Information about Mucormycosis
Murcormycosis Fact Sheet [PDF - 1 page]

Blastomycosis in Wisconsin

Outbreak of blastomycosis, Marathon County, Wisconsin, 2010-2011

  • Number of cases: 55
  • Pathogen(s): Blastomyces dermatitidis
  • Type of infection: Mostly pulmonary
  • Setting: Marathon County, Wisconsin
  • Source: Likely multiple foci in the natural environment
  • Outbreak investigation partners: Marathon County Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin
  • Resources and publications

Trichosporon among ICU patients in Jamaica

Trichosporon among intensive care unit patients, Kingston, Jamaica, 2010

Mucormycosis associated with hospital linens

  • Number of cases: 5
  • Pathogen: Rhizopus delemar
  • Type of infection: Cutaneous
  • Setting: Pediatric hospital in Louisiana
  • Source: Hospital linens
  • Outbreak investigation partners: Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
  • Publications: