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Spook house sporotrichosis. A point-source outbreak of sporotrichosis associated with hay bale props in a Halloween haunted-house.

While isolated cases of sporotrichosis typically occur following contact with contaminated plant materials, outbreaks are distinctly unusual. A temporal increase in the incidence of sporotrichosis in a dermatology practice at a military installation in southwestern Oklahoma prompted an investigation. Patients with sporotrichosis presenting to a single dermatologist in the winter of 1992-1993 were interviewed, epidemiological data were collected, and fungal cultures were obtained from incriminated hay fields. Five patients presented with cutaneous sporotrichosis during a 5-week period beginning in December 1992. Four patients had maintained hay bales in a Halloween haunted house and the fifth patient had visited the house once. As in 3 previous reports, this outbreak was associated with stored hay or hay bales harvested in the US plains states. Contact with hay should be recognized as a risk factor for infection with Sporothrix schenckii. Outbreaks are possible given adequate intensity of exposure and may be difficult to recognize because of the delayed presentation of clinical illness.

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