Friday, April 23, 2010

Mystery Submariner Death

In M.E.'s previous posting, Will the USS Nebraska's (SSBN-739) "Curse" End?, we mentioned the reported outbreak of an insidious fungus in the Pacific North West. The fungus appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed
WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) - A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia, researchers reported on Thursday. The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii, usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said.... "From 1999 through 2003, the cases were largely restricted to Vancouver Island," the report reads.

The fungus has now mutated into a rare genotype with greater virulence, and now it seems to affect healthy people as well.
Submariners are medically screened, healthy specimens. Note the proximity of the Trident base (Kitsap) on the map to Vancouver Island, where the fungus had earlier been thought confined. The spread of the fungus reached parts of Oregon state this month.
The fungus also infects animals, such as dogs, koalas and dolphins.[3] Hmmm!
Submarines are always silent and strange.

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