Medical Communication Prevents Aspergillus Panic in School
A child developed bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (a serious mold-induced lung disorder). When the school was found to have some Aspergillus contamination, the parents and faculty panicked, certain that the school was the source of the child’s illness and a pervasive threat to all in the building. The community demanded that the school be closed immediately. Several physicians concurred with closing the school, further fueling the panic. A more in-depth evaluation of the child and his medical records by the medical doctor revealed two critical facts: first, the ill child had cystic fibrosis, making him susceptible to this fungal disease; second, he had been playing in a mulch pile all summer, providing the near certain source of his infection. Effective medical communication with the school and its occupants explained these facts and why the school was not causal in this case. The actual threat to others was minimal. The school was permitted to reopen following limited, focused remediation.