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Renovating Old Buildings Could Expose People to Histoplasma capsulatum

EMSL Analytical offers PCR testing services to quickly identify the cause of histoplasmosis and numerous other microbial pathogens.

Cinnaminson, NJ, January 8th, 2014 – WEBWIRE

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) about a histoplasmosis outbreak associated with the renovation of an old building.  The article describes workers from a demolition company in Quebec who developed respiratory symptoms after exposure to dust containing bat or bird droppings and an eventual diagnosis of histoplasmosis.  
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatumH. capsulatum grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings. Contaminated soil can be potentially infectious for years. Breathing the spores causes the infection.  Spores become airborne when contaminated soil is disturbed, such as during construction or renovations. If this animal waste or contaminated soil is near air intakes, or the birds or bats are roosting in an attic or other part of the indoor environment, it can also lead to possible infections. 
Anyone can get histoplasmosis, even people who appear to be healthy.  However, infants, young children, and older people, particularly those with chronic lung disease, are at increased risk for developing a severe case of the disease.  Disseminated disease is most frequent in people who have weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or HIV/AIDS.
“The MMWR article brings to light the fact that people involved in demolition, construction and renovation activities need to be aware of the health risks associated with bat and bird droppings that are frequently encountered in older buildings,” said Charles Li, Ph.D., Director of PCR and DNA Analysis at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “AT EMSL, we offer testing solutions to quickly identify Histoplasma capsulatum in the air and from environment samples using rapid real-time PCR technology.”
EMSL has sponsored an educational video about Histoplasma capsulatum and histoplasmosis that can be seen at:
To learn more about testing for Histoplasma capsulatum, other microbial pathogens and indoor air quality (IAQ) contaminants, please contact EMSL Analytical at, call (800)220-3675 or email .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality 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. 


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