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J Infect Dis. 1997 Aug;176(2):499-504.

Outbreak of sporotrichosis among tree nursery workers.

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Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


In spring 1994, an outbreak of sporotrichosis occurred at a tree nursery in Florida; 9 (14%) of 65 workers involved in production of sphagnum moss topiaries developed lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis. A cohort study of all 65 employees was conducted to identify risk factors for sporotrichosis, and an environmental investigation was done. The risk of sporotrichosis increased significantly with the duration of working with sphagnum moss (P < .05), in particular with filling topiaries (P < .05), and with having less gardening experience (P < .05). Wearing gloves was protective (P < .005). Sporothrix schenckii was cultured from patients and sphagnum moss used in topiary production. Use of restriction fragment length polymorphism revealed an identical pattern for patient isolates that was different from the patterns of environmental isolates. Physicians should be aware of sporotrichosis in patients with ulcerative skin lesions who have a history of occupational or recreational exposure to sphagnum moss.

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