Can someone become ill from molds in caves?

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Can someone become ill from molds in caves?

Postby nanette » Sep 18, 2005 1:09 pm

I have recently been diagnosed with four toxic molds and a dozen elevated levels of molds/fungi. My husband and I have tried for a week to find the source. We have a new home and the mold person who came and inspected said it was fine, my work place is fine, etc.
In June we went to see our son in Alabama and went on a cave tour.
I do have a compromised immune system from an illness four years ago. Not long after our trip I began to experience extreme fatigue and memory poblems.
Went to a specialist on toxic and immune disorders in Houston and got the blood work that showed the high levels of molds/fungi.l
Can there be molds and fungi in this cave that could have caused this illness?
Thank you for your suggestions/info.
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Postby hewhocaves » Sep 18, 2005 2:20 pm

histoplasmosis is a fungi that is contractable in a cave. It's contractable in a lot of other places. Can't they make even a general assessment from the spore itself?

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Can someone become ill from molds in a cave?

Postby nanette » Sep 18, 2005 2:46 pm

I have very elevated levels of histoplasma along with aflaxotins, trichothecene, aspergillus, alternaria, blastomyces, coccidiodes, just to name a few.

I just thought of the cave angle yesterday and have not told my specialist yet about the visit to the cave. Am not familiar with all that grows in caves and if one can actually be exposed to fungi/molds for two hours and become ill.

Thanks very much for your reply. It helps.

Nanette
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Postby Lynn » Sep 18, 2005 2:55 pm

The NSS Medical Section contains a few documents that you might like to read.

NSS Medical Section
http://www.caves.org/section/medical/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/cavers CAVERS, CAVES & CAVING PHOTOS
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Postby nanette » Sep 18, 2005 3:11 pm

Thanks very much. Appreciate your reply!

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Postby Lynn » Sep 18, 2005 5:45 pm

Oh I meant to ask do you have allergies of any kind?
http://www.flickr.com/groups/cavers CAVERS, CAVES & CAVING PHOTOS
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Postby nanette » Sep 18, 2005 6:48 pm

Very mild allergies to molds in the past. That's pretty much it.

Thanks for asking.....

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Postby John Lovaas » Sep 19, 2005 4:28 pm

Nanette-

Just curious- where else did you go in Alabama during your visit to your son? Two hours in a cave is one thing to a person with a compromised immune system, but two hours in a park where a large number of birds have been roosting might be another thing. Most histo cases in the U.S. result from exposure to bird droppings.

Just wondering about the condition of your previous home, as well as your son's place. Did you have them checked for molds? I have a friend who used to install carpets- that is, until he contracted a mold infection earlier this year that coated his lungs and ate into the cartilage surrounding his spinal vertebrae. Treatment consisted of heavy duty fungicides and surgical scraping of the interior of his lungs, along with removal of the damaged cartilage and vertebrae, along with a metal cage that encloses the damamged spine area. Needless to say, his life has been changed forever.

Just like a doctor's diagnosis, you ought to get a second opinion from another mold inspection service. And in looking at your profile, I see that you are in Texas. There are all sorts of nasties living within soil itself, particularly in the Southwest. And histoplasmosis lives in soil too.

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Postby nanette » Sep 19, 2005 6:12 pm

Thank you for your reply! We have a new home and don't think the mold is there as we had a mold "man" come out and do a moisture test and a visual all over the home. He did the same at my aerobics. We stayed at a fairly new Hampton Inn in Alabama. The cave is Cathedral Caverns in Woodville and has been open about 10 years. We got so very close to the formations and were in there two hours but did not go to a park.

We do live in the country in Kerrville. We feed the deer and birds but don't see many bird droppings - yes to deer poop, however.
It's such a mystery because I have four elevated levels of toxic molds and a dozen other molds/fungi.

Sounds like your friend has had quite a time. So sorry....

Will print out your email for my husband to read. Thanks for taking the time to reply. All the info helps.

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Postby Phil Winkler » Sep 20, 2005 9:09 am

Nanette,

I'm very sorry to hear of your condition and I know how difficult it is to cure the infection. Molds and spores are ubiquitous. All the species you mention other then histo are found almost everywhere if you would test for them, but they rarely cause infection in normally healthy individuals. Your compromised immune system is highly likely the reason you are so heavily infected.

Histo is sometimes found in very dry caves that have been colonized by bats in the past. It is often found in chicken houses and is considered endemic to the lower Mississippi valley.

Cathedral Caverns is quite wet almost always and I doubt it would be a source of infection from histo or any other mold because of that. I can appreciate you wanting to know the exact source of your infection and hope your research provides you enough information. I would also get another opinion from a doc knowledgeable about mycotic diseases. The CDC is another great source of information.
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Postby nanette » Sep 20, 2005 4:50 pm

Thanks for your information and thoughts. My husband and I do appreciate them and they make good sense.

We are going to continue looking here at our home and the aerobics studio and get a mold specialist to do an air test for spores, etc.

Thank you again for taking the time and effort to write.

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