Current Date/Time: 11/30/2005 9:29:11 AM
Hyperacute physiological changes following prospective exposures to environmental sources of trichothecene toxins in water-damaged buildings (WDB): a Stealth toxin is revealed
Author Block: R. C. Shoemaker;
Center for Research on Biotoxin Associated Illnesses, Pocomoke City, MD.
Background: Attacks with trichothecenes (TCTH) could silently cause civilian disability and excessive use of health resources, as death and disfigurement in victims would not occur. A model for such “Stealth” biotoxin attack is obtained from patients re-exposed to indoor environments in WDB with resident TCTH-forming organisms. Recent studies confirmed: (1) causation of illness and abnormalities in innate immune responses by exposure to WDB with Stachybotrys (ST); (2) presence of TCTH in bioaerosols in WDB with ST; (3) presence of TCTH in lung tissue (4) presence of TCTH in blood of affected, exposed patients but not in unexposed controls (5) susceptibility based on HLA DR. We present the results of hyperacute re-exposure of treated, but previously ill patients who returned to their WDB without protection.
Methods: 12 HLA DR (+) patients used repetitive exposure to prove causation of illness by WDB. Following resolution of prior illness using published interventions for a pre-existing illness satisfying a published case definition for “mold illness,” patients returned to a known source of ST, with testing for C3a, C4a, leptin, MMP9 and VEGF, together with recording of symptoms and visual contrast sensitivity (VCS), daily for three days. Results were compared to baseline, after therapy, after off medications without exposure, and after second therapy.
Results: A multisystem, multisymptom illness began less than two hours after exposure. C3a, C4a increased after 4-12 hours; leptin in 24 hours; MMP9 in 48 hours and VEGF in 72 hours. VCS identified all cases at 48 hours. Biomarkers at 72 hours equalled baseline.
Conclusions: Exposure to biotoxin-forming fungi in WDB reveals the sequential changes in biomarkes that could occur following terrorist use of TCTH. Based on HLA DR, 24% of people are at risk. No dose-response relationship exists for this illness. Illness from TCTH is a recognizable but treatable threat.