Laboratory exposure to Coccidioides: lessons learnt in a non-endemic country

L Porte, F Valdivieso, D Wilmes, P Gaete, C Díaz, L Thompson, J M Munita, R Alliende, C Varela, V Rickerts, T Weitzel
Journal of Hospital Infection 2019 March 15
Coccidioides is a primary pathogenic fungus, which infects humans through highly infectious arthroconidia, causing substantial morbidity including life-threatening disseminated infections. Due to the low infectious dose, laboratory personnel might become infected during diagnostic procedures. Accordingly, coccidioidomycosis is reported as the most frequent laboratory-acquired systemic mycosis worldwide. This risk is aggravated in non-endemic countries, where the diagnosis may not be suspected. We report on an inadvertent exposure of 44 persons to Coccidioides posadasii in a clinical microbiology laboratory in Chile, the measures of containment after rapid diagnosis with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and the lessons learnt in a non-endemic setting.

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