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Deadly Fungus Threatens Inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest


EMSL Analytical provides PCR testing solutions for Cryptococcus gattii to help identify its presence to protect people and animals from the virulent pathogen.

Cinnaminson, NJ

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued their first advisory asking physicians to watch for infections caused by Cryptococcus gattii. Until recently the fungus was primarily known for inhabiting tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Over the last decade it began appearing regularly in the Pacific Northwest.

According to a CDC report, “Infections in the Pacific Northwest are caused by multiple genotypes, but the major strain is genetically novel and may have emerged recently in association with unique mating or environmental changes.” Regions reporting infections include the states of Washington, California and Oregon as well as British Columbia, Canada. Approximately 60 infections have been reported since 2004 after it was first identified in North America in 1999. Infections are caused by inhaling fungal spores that cause conditions similar to pneumonia and meningitis. Of great concern to the medical profession is the fact that over half the infected individuals had no underlying risk factors.

Three different strains of C. gattii have been found in the United States with a hyper-virulent one identified in Oregon’s forests. Infections often cause lesions of the brain and lungs that may also be infected with bacteria. Treating infected individuals has been challenging for the medical community.

EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s largest environmental testing laboratories, has been providing analytical solutions to identify airborne contaminants for almost 30 years. “Whether C. gattii has spread due to climate warming as some reports suggest, or other reasons, it is certainly something that needs additional research to help prevent infections,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President for EMSL Analytical. “At EMSL Analytical we offer testing solutions, including utilizing advanced PCR techniques, to identify this pathogen from environmental samples.”

To learn more about air testing services please visit, email or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, food and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 Deadly Fungus Northwest
 Cryptococcus gattii
 CDC Washington Oregon
 California BC pneumonia
 meningitis infections

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