This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, June 10, 2011

More Misery in Missouri

The horrendous tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, have as of today caused the death of 151 people. And the misery continues in myriad ways, including the eruption of a dangerous fungus which may have contributed to the death of at least three of those people.

Jacqueline Lapine, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the department has received reports of eight suspected deep-skin fungal infections among survivors of the May 22 twister. She said all of the victims had suffered multiple injuries and developed secondary wound infections.
Zygomycosis, also known as mucormycosis, is a sometimes-fatal infection that spreads rapidly and can be caused by soil or vegetative material becoming getting under the skin. It's more prevalent in people with weakened immune systems or untreated diabetes but can affect healthy people who get badly hurt.
"These people had multiple traumas, pneumonia, all kinds of problems," said Dr. Uwe Schmidt, an infectious disease specialist at Freeman Health System in Joplin. "It's difficult to say how much the fungal infections contributed to their demise."
"We could visibly see mold in the wounds," Schmidt said. "It rapidly spread. The tissue dies off and becomes black. It doesn't have any circulation. It has to be removed."
Schmidt said the infection is sometimes seen in survivors of mass trauma such as the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.
"This fungus invades the underlying tissue and actually invades the underlying blood vessels and cuts off the circulation to the skin," he said. "It's very invasive."

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