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September 8, 1997

Spook House Sporotrichosis: A Point-Source Outbreak of Sporotrichosis Associated With Hay Bale Props in a Halloween Haunted House

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Dooley) and Pathology (Ms Beckius), Brooke Army Medical Center, Ft Sam Houston, Tex, and the Department of Medicine, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii (Dr Bostic).

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(16):1885-1887. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440370135014

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.

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:1885-1887

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