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Fungal infections post Joplin tornadoes spur disagreement between state and local health officials

In the aftermath of the devastating Joplin tornadoes, cases of a rare fungus that cause potentially deadly infections in humans began showing up in Southwestern Missouri.Local health officials in Green County contacted state health officials with the evidence and suggested sounding a statewide alert. However, Missouri officials declined citing the concern of causing public panic. Sarah Okeson of the Springfield News-Leaderreports that, “frustrated, county officials issued a limited alert themselves.”

“County officials ended up putting out the word to 43 health care contacts. Joplin health officials also alerted providers. The state did eventually issue a health advisory on June 10, a week after the county’s request and two days after the News-Leader wrote about the fungal infections.”

Of the 13 documented cases of the fungal infections, “known as mucormycosis,” five people died.

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