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WADDL

Winter 2015

Emerging disease: A case study

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU

1999

Hundreds of people, cats, dogs, porpoises, birds, and other animals on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, fell victim to what was diagnosed as a rare fungal infection called Cryptococcus gattii. Though physicians and veterinarians were familiar with the more common Cryptococcus neoformans, C. gattii was considered a tropical disease found only in places like Australia.

Upon deeper investigation, B.C. health officials were alarmed to discover that C. gattii had established itself in the native trees and soil—and was especially prevalent in decaying wood. Epidemiologists speculate that climate change and warmer summers helped create favorable habitat for the … » More …