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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 19, 2014

Quebec Histoplasmosis Cases Linked With Renovation of Old Home

JAMA. 2014;311(7):667. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.562

Renovation of an old home in Quebec, Canada, with bird and bat droppings crusted between the walls demonstrates the disease risk workers face, especially if they don’t use respirators.

Last spring the century-old home underwent extensive renovation, including demolition of the exterior brick walls. As the walls came down, a cloud of dust that likely contained particles of the bird and bat droppings filled the surrounding area.

Two masons working on the project sought medical treatment when they developed cough, dyspnea, and fever. Both were referred to a Montreal emergency department and one was hospitalized. Results of an investigation published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that other masons, debris sorters, residents living in the home, neighbors, and visitors—30 in all—had been exposed to the dust.

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