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Mycopathologia. 2003;156(4):273-7.

Isolation of Alternaria alternata from an emollient cream: implications for public health.

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  • 1Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Department of Bacteriology, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast BT9 7AD, Northern Ireland.


A specimen of emollient cream, which was observed to be contaminated peripherally with a filamentous fungus was examined for the presence of fungi and the resulting fungal colonies were examined phenotypically and genotypically. Subsequent DNA extraction and PCR amplification of the large internal transcribed spacer region [ITS1-5.8S-ITS2] yielded an amplicon of 512 bp. Sequence analysis identified this as Alternaria alternata at the 100% homology level with all 512/512 bases called. This organism has been previously reported as a cause of opportunistic infections involving skin and immunocompromised patients. This is the first report of an emollient cream as a source of this organism. It highlights the need for proper management of such preparations in order to minimize the potential spread of fungi to susceptible patient populations.

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