Stachybotrys is a genus of molds, or asexually reproducing, filamentous fungi. Closely related to the genus Memnoniella, most Stachybotrys species inhabit materials rich in cellulose. The genus has a widespread distribution, and contains about 50 species. The name comes the Greek words "stakhus" (ear of grain, stalk, stick; σταχυς) or "stachy" (progeny) and "botrus" (cluster or bunch as in grapes, trusses; βότρυς).
The most infamous species, S. chartarum (previously known as S. atra) and S. chlorohalonata are known as "black mold" or "toxic black mold" in the U.S. and are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials.
Stachybotrys spores 10 X 40 magnification under bright field microscopy
Symptoms of Stachybotrys exposure in humans
Exposure to the mycotoxins present in Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra can have a wide range of effects. Depending on the length of exposure and volume of spores inhaled or ingested, symptoms can manifest as chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, irritation to various areas including the eyes, mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat, as well as other symptoms such as sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing. In severe cases of exposure or cases exacerbated by allergic reaction, symptoms can be extreme including nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose.[unreliable medical source?] The controversy began in the early 1990s after analysis of two infantile deaths and multiple cases in children from the poor areas of Cleveland, Ohio due to pulmonary hemorrhage were initially linked to exposure to heavy amounts of Stachybotrys chartarum. Subsequent and extensive reanalysis of the cases by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have failed to find any link between the deaths and the mold exposure.
Stachybotrys albipes (Berk. & Broome) S.C. Jong & Davis (1976)
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