University Hospital treats two Joplin tornado survivors for fungal infection

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | 8:00 p.m. CDT; updated 11:48 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 24, 2011

COLUMBIA — Two Joplin tornado victims were transported to University Hospital to be treated for an aggressive fungus infection

“We treated two patients from other hospitals confirmed to have mucormycosis,” Matt Splett, media coordinator for MU Health Care, said.

University Hospital could not verify Tuesday evening whether the patients were still being treated.

While Splett confirmed that the two patients had been affected by last month's tornado in Joplin, he could release information neither about the hospital where they were previously treated nor about their conditions.

Mucormycosis, also known as zygomycosis, is a rare fungus infection that can be caused when soil or vegetative materials enter the skin through open wounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

The infection is most common among people with weak immune systems but can be caught during an event such as a natural disaster when a wound is stitched up before it is properly cleaned, the website stated.

The website also explained that the infection can be treated with a prescribed anti-fungal medication taken by mouth or through a vein, and it sometimes requires surgery to remove the infected tissue.

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