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Outbreak of histoplasmosis associated with the 1970 earth day activities

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      Abstract

      An outbreak of histoplasmosis occurred in early May 1970 at a junior high school in Delaware, Ohio; clinical illness occurred in 384 (40 per cent) of the students and faculty, with probably an equal number of subclinical cases. The mode of spread was airborne and was shown epidemiologically to be related to activities on Earth Day, April 22, 1970, when the courtyard in the center of the school, an old bird roost, was raked and swept. Contamination of the entire school building with courtyard air occurred via the school's forced air ventilation system with intakes in the courtyard. Soil samples from the courtyard were positive for Histoplasma capsulatum, but random samples from other areas around the building were negative. In two persons in the building only on April 22, the typical illness developed. Features of the outbreak have important implications for clinicians and public health officials.
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