Indoor Air Quality & Fusarium

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Fusarium: Opportunistic Fungal Pathogen & IAQ Contaminant

Fusarium is a genus of fungi that is widely distributed in soils and can be a cause of indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in properties with elevated mold levels. Most species of Fusarium are harmless, but others can cause costly plant damage, spoil cereal crops through the production of mycotoxins (fumonisins and trichothecenes ; T-2), and cause opportunistic infections in humans.

Mycotoxins produced by some species of Fusarium have even been researched as potential biological weapons in the past. In homes that have suffered water damage or elevated humidity resulting in mold growth, Fusarium is sometimes found in surface and air samples. Exposure to high levels of mold may cause allergic reactions in some people and act as a trigger for asthma in others.

Some species of Fusarium can cause a host of opportunistic infections in humans. People with healthy immune systems may develop infections of the nails or in the cornea. In 2006, the CDC investigated an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis that was associated with a specific type of contact lens solution, which was later withdrawn from the market.