Your Health: July 5, 2013 Frozen ice pops and lab tests - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: July 5, 2013 Frozen ice pops and lab tests

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Birmingham, AL -

    Why should physicians be aware of if some of their hospitalized patients eat ice popsicles?
     A new report reveals that frozen ice pops, a common treat in hospitals, can fool tests designed to detect a fungal infection that threatens people with an weakened immune system.
     According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health,  the fungus, known as aspergillus, is so common that most people breathe in its spores each day.  It's found in soil, on plants, in household dust and in some home-building materials.
    Most people have no problems when they encounter the fungus because their immune systems get rid of it.
  The new report describes the case of a 42-year-old woman in France who underwent a stem-cell transplant to treat a bone marrow disorder.
     Tests suggested she'd been infected by the aspergillus fungus, although she didn't show symptoms, and she began taking an anti fungal drug called voriconazole to treat it.
     Researchers say she was wrongly treated for the infection because of false positive test results.
      Later, researchers tested three brands of ice pops and found they all contain a molecule known as galactomannan that can trigger a false test reading.

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