Detection of Cryptococcus gattii in Selected Urban Parks of the Willamette Valley, Oregon
Human and animal infections of the fungus Cryptococcus gattii have been recognized in Oregon since 2006. Transmission is primarily via airborne environmental spores and now thought to be locally acquired due to infection in non-migratory animals and humans with no travel history. Previous published efforts to detect C. gattii from tree swabs and soil samples in Oregon have been unsuccessful. This study was conducted to determine the presence of C. gattii in selected urban parks of Oregon cities within the Willamette Valley where both human and animal cases of C. gattii have been diagnosed. Urban parks were sampled due to spatial and temporal overlap of humans, companion animals and wildlife. Two of 64 parks had positive samples for C. gattii. One park had a positive tree and the other park, 60 miles away, had positive bark mulch samples from a walkway. Genotypic subtypes identified included C. gattii VGIIa and VGIIc, both considered highly virulent in murine host models.
KeywordsCryptococcus gattii Oregon Environmental sampling Urban parks Douglas fir tree Bark mulch Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii
We thank Robert Dyk, Brian Thomas, Trevor Lock, Andrea Mortenson, and Dr. Sara Walker for help with environmental sampling, plus Naureen Iqbal for help with MLST typing. In addition, we thank Darren Bruning and Dr. John Huntley for project design suggestions, Al Shay for tree species identification, Andrew Fox for cartography services, and USDA, APHIS, VS for financial support of the project.
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