A fast growing, flesh-eating fungus killed 5 people following a massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo.
Health officials should be aware of infections caused by the fungus Apophysomyces,
according to the studies, which tracked 13 people infected by the
pathogen during the Class EF-5 tornado - the most powerful category -
whose 200-plus mph winds plowed through Joplin on May 22, 2011,
initially killing 160 and injuring more than 1,000.
The common fungus - which lives in soil, wood or water - usually has no
effect on people. But once it is introduced deep into the body through a
blunt trauma puncture wound, it can grow quickly if the proper medical
response is not immediate, the studies said. Five of the 13 people
infected through injuries suffered during the Joplin tornado died within
two weeks. READ MORE update After Joplin storm, mystery persists around fungus
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