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article imageTulip and narcissus bulbs carry fungal risk

By Tim Sandle     May 29, 2017 in Health
Dublin - Imported tulip bulbs, exported from the Netherlands, are spreading anti-fungal resistance, according to new research from Trinity College Dublin.
The new research reveals that tulip and narcissus bulbs, imported into Ireland from the Netherlands, are probable vehicles for the spread of a drug-resistant fungus. The fungus is potentially harmful to human health, to the extent that -medics have advised people not to plant bulbs near hospitals or to give them as gifts to at-risk patients (those who are immunocompromised).
The fungus of concern is Aspergillus fumigatus. This fungus is one of the most common Aspergillus species found in the environment and the species most likely to cause disease in individuals with an immunodeficiency. The fungus can over-run a person's weakened defenses and causing a range of diseases generally termed aspergillosis. in such circumstances the disease cause repeated coughing up of blood, chest pain, and occasionally severe, even fatal, bleeding.
With the investigation of flower bulbs imported into Ireland, the researchers found A five out of six imported tulip-bulb packages cultured A. fumigatus. The species was found to be resistant to the anti-fungal drug Voriconazole, which is used to treat aspergillosis. in addition, other isolates were found to be resistant to other anti-fugal compounds, including Triazole antifungals.
Commenting on this, lead researcher Professor Tom Rogers stated: "We were aware of reports from the Netherlands of this type of resistance and its possible link to the widespread use of Triazole antifungal drugs as fungicides in agriculture and floriculture which may be selecting it out in the environment." The researcher is advising people not to plant tulip or narcissus bulbs in or near healthcare facilities.
The next phase of the research is to understand more fully how environmental Triazole resistance is evolving and whether other imported products are likely to carry similar risks.
The bulb warming has been published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The research paper is titled "Intercountry Transfer of Triazole-Resistant Aspergillus fumigatus on Plant Bulbs."
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