Omicron ‘crypto’ fungal infection found in US

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In March last year, the Omicron virus arrived from Asia via landmail

Two new cases of the deadly crypto fungal infection omicron have been found in the US – in North Carolina and Idaho.

The first, from North Carolina, was the result of ingestion of imported camp food.

The second, in Idaho, is the result of natural exposure – a person contracting the disease in another state.

The fungus can cause flu-like symptoms in susceptible individuals, and is extremely deadly to those with weakened immune systems.

Ohio-based biotech company Omicron BioSciences and Texas-based Ag Biotech International licensed the virus to the US Food and Drug Administration, and have launched tests to establish if the new cases are isolated or part of a larger outbreak.

Both states are just outside the borders of the “epidemic potential” area – defined as state or district close to which the fungi can flourish. There have been no reported cases of the illness in North Carolina or Idaho since the cases became known.

In March last year, the US health agency learned of a laboratory error that had allowed the omicron virus to enter the country from Asia.

More than 30 cases were initially detected in Seattle and San Francisco.

The new cases in North Carolina and Idaho are said to be a result of eating imported foods, not getting infected.

Many foods contaminated with the microorganism have been recalled this year. Eating raw spinach or undercooked meat is thought to be especially dangerous.

Leave a Comment