Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pillows - a hotbed of fungal spores

Life-threatening Aspergillua pneumonia and sinusitis is a problem for immuno-compromised transplant patients and this news release from the University of Manchester suggests that the type of pillows used outside the hospital may be a hotbed of fungi spores that cause the disease. Read on.

MANCHESTER - Fungal Research Trust

Researchers at The University of Manchester, funded by the Fungal Research Trust, have discovered millions of fungal spores literally right under our noses; in our pillows. Aspergillus fumigatus, the species most commonly found in the pillows, is most likely to cause disease; and the resulting condition Aspergillosis has become the leading infectious cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Fungi also exacerbate asthma in adults.

Aspergillus is a very common fungus, carried in the air as well as being found in cellars, household plant pots, compost, computers and ground pepper and spices.

Invasive Aspergillosis occurs mainly in the lungs and sinuses,
although it can spread to other organs such as the brain, and is becoming increasingly common across other patient groups. It is very difficult to treat, and as many as 1 in 25 patients who die in modern European teaching hospitals have the disease.

Immuno-compromised patients such as transplantation, AIDS and
steroid treatment patients are also frequently affected with life-threatening Aspergillus pneumonia and sinusitis. Fortunately, hospital pillows have plastic covers and so are unlikely to cause problems, but patients being discharged home - where pillows may be old and fungus-infected - could be at risk of infection...Full press release

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