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High prevalence of exposure to rural fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Minas Gerais, Brazil

November 24 2014

Over 45% of those living in a rural area of Minas Gerais, a state of Brazil have had contact with Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, the fungus causing paracoccidioidomycosis, as described in a recent article by Magalhaes et al .
Paracoccidioidomycosis is a systemic mycoses, endemic and limited to Latin America. The fungi is found in nature, where it produces spores that are inhaled by humans, harboured in the lungs and converted there to the yeast phase. From the lungs, the fungi can disseminate to any organ especially skin, mucous membranes, lymphatic tissue and adrenal glands.

There were 542 people studied with equal numbers of men and women, as well as some children down to the age of 10. The intradermal test was carried with 0.1 ml of an exoantigen, rich in the glycoprotein gp43, injected in the left forearm. The test was read after 48h and an induration of 5 mm was considered positive.

A positive reaction was found in 46.67% (CI95% 0.42-0.51) of the 542 individuals studied. The prevalence increased with the age of the population and was far more frequent in men than in women (56.3% versus 37.13%). There were no differences between people doing farm or non-farm work. No other risk factors were identified in the studied population. Symptoms or signs of active disease were not found in any of the patients having a positive reaction. Taking into account these findings, paracoccidioidomycosis public health policies are needed in Latin America, especially in this high prevalence area. 

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