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What can you tell me about Paecilomyces in wall cavities? Doing culture-plate testing at wall cavities with suspected mold contamination from leaks led to control test holes at one house. Elevated Paecilomyces was found in all samples, about 10, even an interior wall cavity. What can explain this? Rain during construction? The house is not in a damp location, is about 12 years old, has no history of roof leaks.

Every room was sampled by culture plate testing, and no Paecilomyces was found in any room air sample.

Since the stakes are high (gutting/real estate disclosure) and we don't know if this is a serious concern or not, the homeowners prefer to be proactive about possible MVOC infiltration into room air. We are researching positive pressure (ThermaStor unit) vs HRV with dehumidification, with the plan being to do MVOC testing (UL-Air Quality Science) next summer in both rooms and wall cavities. Also planned is to replace electrical receptacles with sealed receptacles to reduce any infiltration of mold gases from wall cavities.

The more I sample now in wall cavities, the more I am seeing Paecilomyces - not always, but finding it is also not uncommon. I am questioning whether doing a couple of culture plate wall samples might become part of my routine testing protocol in future days.

Incidentally, if the $ for lab fees are ringing up in your mind from all this testing... this is in-house testing with homemade culture plates. I find this approach better for diagnostic purposes. I also work with a microscope on-site. I'm taking 50-60 samples at the average house.

Your feedback would be appreciated! --May

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What can you tell me about Paecilomyces in wall cavities? Doing culture-plate testing at wall cavities with suspected mold contamination from leaks led to control test holes at one house. Elevated Paecilomyces was found in all samples, about 10, even an interior wall cavity. What can explain this? Rain during construction? The house is not in a damp location, is about 12 years old, has no history of roof leaks.

I'm not an expert, and I'd like to hear the opinion of one, but my guess is that the fungus was on the wood before the house was built. We don't sterilize wood before putting it in a house. Since we build our houses from mold food, it's not unreasonable to expect this kind of contamination.

Every room was sampled by culture plate testing, and no Paecilomyces was found in any room air sample.

Unless the fungus is actively growing and throwing off spores, or if the fungus is being disturbed, wouldn't this be exactly what you'd expect to find?

Since the stakes are high (gutting/real estate disclosure) and we don't know if this is a serious concern or not, the homeowners prefer to be proactive about possible MVOC infiltration into room air. We are researching positive pressure (ThermaStor unit) vs HRV with dehumidification, with the plan being to do MVOC testing (UL-Air Quality Science) next summer in both rooms and wall cavities. Also planned is to replace electrical receptacles with sealed receptacles to reduce any infiltration of mold gases from wall cavities.

Again, I'm not an expert, but that seems like a ridiculous course of action.

The more I sample now in wall cavities, the more I am seeing Paecilomyces - not always, but finding it is also not uncommon. I am questioning whether doing a couple of culture plate wall samples might become part of my routine testing protocol in future days.

Maybe the better question is whether or not to simply accept the existance of the Paecilomyces as a normal (and benign) condition.

Incidentally, if the $ for lab fees are ringing up in your mind from all this testing... this is in-house testing with homemade culture plates. I find this approach better for diagnostic purposes. I also work with a microscope on-site. I'm taking 50-60 samples at the average house.

Your feedback would be appreciated! --May

I think that you're putting the cart before the horse. First, determine what is and is not acceptable, then test for it and abate it as necessary. The idea that it's necessary to completely eliminate all fungus from a house made of wood & wood by-products is just crazy.

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May,

spent a few minutes looking at your site. Lots of the advice you give is pretty good, but some is just silly. I can't agree with encapsulation.

Please stick around and participate. I am sure we will see some interesting comments!

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You did a lot of sampling, but you make no mention of moisture measurements or describe conditions that would allow mold to grow. You seem to be making a problem where none exists.

I'm inclined to agree with Jim; it's some fungus in a wall, dead and benign. If someone was still all worked up about an extremely common condition, seal the receptacle covers (but I think it's quite silly).

The mere presence of spores describes about 99.99% of every environment we live in.

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I'm in the 'live and let live' camp as well, but .... we need to keep up with changes in the fungal world. They may be out to get rid of us, and why not?

Here's what I know about Paecilomyces. It is everywhere.

Wikipedia lists about 50 species and says this:

Paecilomyces is a genus of nematophagous fungus which kills harmful nematodes by pathogenesis, causing disease in the nematodes. Therefore the fungus can be used as a bio-nematicide to control nematodes by applying it to soil.

Dr Fungus says:

Pathogenicity and Clinical Significance

Paecilomyces species can cause various infections in humans. These infections are occasionally referred to as paecilomycosis. Corneal ulcer, keratitis, and endophthalmitis [908]. Direct cutaneous inoculation may lead to these infections [2437], pulmonary [1695, 1110], onychomycosis [923, 585], endocarditis [1476, 2274], osteomyelitis [482, 1928], and catheter-related fungemia [2221] have all been reported. Paecilomyces species can also cause allergic disorders, such as allergic alveolitis [663], laboratory rats [1833], and goats [

THE US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE HAS THIS TO SAY:

ABSTRACT

The MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) of amphotericin B, miconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, fluconazole, and flucytosine for 52 isolates of Paecilomyces species were evaluated by the broth microdilution method, largely based on the recommendations of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (document M27-A). The fungal isolates tested included 16 P. variotii, 11 P. lilacinus, 9 P. marquandii, 6 P. fumosoroseus, 4 P. javanicus, and 2 P. viridis isolates and 1 isolate of each of the following species: P. carneus, P. farinosus, P. fulvus, and P. niveus. The MFCs and the MICs at which 90% of isolates were inhibited (MIC90s) for the six antifungal agents were remarkably high; the MIC50s indicated that amphotericin B, miconazole, itraconazole, and ketoconazole had good activities, while fluconazole and flucytosine demonstrated poor efficacy. The ranges of the MICs were generally wider and lower than those of the MFCs. There were significant susceptibility differences among the species.

All species with the exception of P. variotii were highly resistant to fluconazole and flucytosine; P. variotii was susceptible to flucytosine. Amphotericin B and the rest of the azoles [:)] showed good activity against P. variotii, while all the antifungal agents assayed showed low efficacy against P. lilacinus.

In recent years, opportunistic fungal infections have increased substantially, and the species of the genus Paecilomyces are emerging as the cause of a variety of infections in humans (4, 5, 14). Paecilomyces comprises numerous saprobic species, which are regularly isolated from soil and air and some of which are also rather common in food, paper, and other materials. P. variotii, a thermotolerant species often isolated from hay, is probably the most common. Apart from this species, five more species have been reported as producing opportunistic infections in humans (18). Nowadays, the number of reported cases of illness caused by the members of this genus has passed 60, ranging in severity from nail infections to fatal endocarditis. In approximately 90% of the patients some predisposing factor to infection was found: transplants, cardiac surgery, diabetes, trauma, prosthetic implants, leukemia, peritoneal dialysis, corticosteroid treatments, etc. The proper treatment for such infections is not yet well established;

amphotericin B is the drug that has been mostly used for the treatment of Paecilomyces infections in humans and has been used alone or in combination with other drugs, although it has a failure rate of about 40%. There is very little information about the in vitro activities of antifungal agents against the Paecilomyces species. The widest-ranging study evaluated the susceptibilities of four strains of P. lilacinus to five antifungal drugs (13), while all the others tested the susceptibility of only one strain. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to evaluate the in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of a certain number of Paecilomyces sp. strains in order to obtain consistent data which could be used as a guide for in vivo treatments. The influence of incubation time on the MICs was also evaluated.

Lucky for us, azoles are plentiful. But this is food for thought, IMO.

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Food for thought, yes, but.....

If one wants to completely glaze over with information like this, just keep googling and reading. There hundreds/thousands/millions of agents (fungal, bacterial, viral, etc.) that can cause infection or health effects in humans.

I have a lot of medical professional friends and customers. When asked about this stuff, their response is always "sure, maybe, I don't know, you wanna worry I can tell you a thousand agents to worry about". Always followed with "the amount of mold or fungus necessary to cause health effects in humans is very great; casual exposure is unlikely to cause anything".

If they don't know, we shouldn't project meaning armed with wikipedia information (I provide material support to wikipedia, no slam on the source). It's best not to get one's medical advice from mold and home inspectors.

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Nowadays, the number of reported cases of illness caused by the members of this genus has passed 60, ranging in severity from nail infections to fatal endocarditis. In approximately 90% of the patients some predisposing factor to infection was found: transplants, cardiac surgery, diabetes, trauma, prosthetic implants, leukemia, peritoneal dialysis, corticosteroid treatments, etc. The proper treatment for such infections is not yet well established

We aren't health professionals. If they can't figure it out yet, we have no business even opening our mouths about it. Even when they do finally figure it out it will be years, possibly decades before they are ready to boil it down to everyday language that a snuffy can understand. Spouting off about this stuff to any client would be like me giving someone advice about brain surgery. Believe me, you don't want to have me doing that.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'm going to pile on here.....

I am not aware of any other area of medical study wherein the entire public awareness and perception has been hijacked by independent vendors such as it has with mold.

I know a number of medical researchers from NU Medical School. All of them are open to the idea of mold being an agent or cause of something or other, but not a one of them, and that includes the mycologists, are anywhere near the point of credible hypothesis about what the risks are and even less about how we might go about treating such issues.

All of them indicate the amounts of mold necessary to cause significant health effects in individuals is great, and there will always be some small number of genetically predisposed individuals that will suffer health effects from just about anything.

So, a bunch of vendors with a vested interest in finding problems where medical science has yet to come up with credible findings and courses of action should indicate something is wrong with where the whole mold thing has gone.

When medical studies indicate known and verifiable issues, I'm there. Until then, I am absolutely not.

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I'll take it a step further.

Find a house that's thoroughly infested with Paecilomyces, and I'll volunteer to live in it for a week. I'll need a per diem equal to my daily inspection rate, a big TV, a pile of Dr. Who DVDs, and an unlimited supply of falafel.

At the end of the week, I'll walk out as healthy as I walked in.

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I think I may have tied this whole thread together with a neat bow...

Dr Who's best known, long time enemies are the fiendish machines known as Daleks. Of course we all know that! But did you know that Spiridon (also known as Zaleria) was a planet used for a base by the Daleks in the early 26th century in their plan to destabilize the galactic balance of power before an invasion in force.

The planet was home to several non-intelligent predators, most of which were nocturnal. Many of the plants, like the eye plants, also exhibited signs of sentience and were dangerous in their own right. One such species spat fungal spores at anything which came too close. The mould resulting from direct contact grew rapidly across the skin of anyone hit, rapidly incapacitating and eventually killing them.

I'm sure if the OP looked hard enough, she could find those too!

201312231056_newdalek2.gif

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I'm a late comer to the Dr. Who phenomenon. There have been a dozen or more....is there a commonly argued "best" Dr. Who portrayal, as in "best" James Bond actor?

Yes, drift......but it's just a mold thread....

As a kid, I enjoyed Patrick Troughton. He was probably the first Doctor that I remember and I enjoyed his humor. His successor, Jon Pertwee, was awful.

Tom Baker was, I think, the longest running Doctor and became synonomous with the role, especially in the U.S. I always enjoyed him.

Peter Davison was great in All Creatures Great and Small but sucked eggs as the Doctor. Then came the horrible Colin Baker followed by the truly dreadful Sylvester McCoy, who nearly killed the franchise.

When the show was revived, I really liked Christopher Eccleston, but then I liked David Tennant even better. But when Matt Smith took over, he blew every other Doctor out of the water. In fact, the three leads - Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Davrill are really very, very good.

If you're new to the show, start with what's called Series 5, where Matt Smith takes over the role. The acting is uniformly excellent and the scripts are really a lot of fun.

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Definitely fun. I am generally taken with English acting, as there seems to be a greater emphasis on acting than on celebrity...although I may have that wrong.

I've only seen a few of the newer Dr. Who's and thought the acting was remarkably good, good enough to make me want to watch more.

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I was 14, in England, when Dr Who first aired. It was never a must watch for me. I think i was more fascinated by the real science of space and the US space program by then, and found such villains as the Daleks too phony. I mean you could defeat the stupid things with a short set of stairs or by just walking away. I was also heavily into science fiction in book form at that time and found the TV series visually crude and stunted. I might occasionally watch for the cute female companions though. I don't think I have seen more than a few minutes of the show since I left Blighty during the Pertwee era. So, I'm aware of the franchise, but not a fan. I guess it must be better by now. I didn't know the stuff I posted before I googled it.

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Tom Baker's Doctor is my facebook avatar. I used to watch it all the time on PBS. I've got my boy hooked. He has two sonic screwdirvers, a couple lego-esque building sets, and a collection of all the Doctors in lego minifigure form in a TARDIS display case.

Now excuse me while I go have a mushroom omlet and stream some Dr Who. Mmmm, breakfast with Billie Piper.

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I'll take it a step further.

Find a house that's thoroughly infested with Paecilomyces, and I'll volunteer to live in it for a week. I'll need a per diem equal to my daily inspection rate, a big TV, a pile of Dr. Who DVDs, and an unlimited supply of falafel.

At the end of the week, I'll walk out as healthy as I walked in.

Jim, you've got to spend a month in the stud cavity to really experience a fungal attack. We can stream the Dr. Who's to your virtual reality glasses. You'll come out looking like Steve McQueen in 'Papillon'.
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I never heard of Paecilomyces either until just now so I did a little research. I think the FYI from Kogel comes from some research done in 1998 by the US National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC105653/

The gist is there were about 60 reported cases of infection caused by this mold in immune compromised individuals.

At the time of that study there were about 300 million people in the United States. A 2008 study says there is an estimate of about 10 million immunocompromised people in the US which the study admits is probably a low estimate. So we will guesstimate 60/10,000,000 immunocompromised people got an infection from this type of mold as of a 1998 report.

That is .000006% or a 6 in 1 million chance of infection from this stuff.

I assume Ms. May is testing because her clients are immunocompromised but even if they are, their chances of getting sick from this mold is infinitesimal. If they are not immunocompromised their chances of getting sick is one in 75 million?

Ms. May, are there more recent credible studies on the dangers of this particular mold?

I also found this from a 2012 document:

Since the discovery of the first documented case of Paecilomyces in 1963, only five cases of Paecilomyces sinusitis have been described to date and all of them have predisposing factors such as immunocompromised status or prior nasal surgery. We present the first case of Paecilomyces lilacinus sinusitis in a fit young woman with no identified predisposing factors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first known case in the UK and in Europe.

from http://www.jmedicalcasereports.com/content/6/1/86

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I'm learning. Mike L's stats go to what my doctor friends were saying, basically, this is just one more thing out of thousands or hundreds of thousands of things. Pick your poison, there's plenty to go around.

If someone is immunocompromised, life is rough. Very rough. Mold is just one small item in a long list of possible problems.

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Dear friends,

Thank you for your input re: Paecilomyces in wall cavities. If this were hot humid weather, we would be able to test for MVOCs, but that will have to wait for the summer.

There's NO issue with infection, because the spores are not coming through the walls to room air.

Paecilomyces may turn out to be common in wall cavities from the time of construction (or in insulation) - but we don't know that for sure right now. Most wall cavities that I have sampled don't show elevated levels of Paecilomyces - but this house did, in every sample, even in interior walls.

The clients have children with serious health conditions. Of course they are concerned... yet they don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill any more than I do. They want to do something proactively while they wait for the summertime gas testing. Improving air exchange (whichever way they plan to do it) is a plus for health, whether or not it is needed for MVOCs. We're just looking for input on the best approach to improving air exchange if MVOCs turn out to be present...which we won't know until the summer.

I hope this clarifies things. - May

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