First Mysterious Rash, Now Dangerous Mold
The search for the cause of a mysterious rash that has plagued the Dongola School
since early January leads district leaders to a frightening discovery. Tests
done inside the Union County School building Friday revealed the presence of
Stachybotrys, or black mold, a potentially dangerous growth that can cause breathing
and other health problems.
District leaders revealed the black mold findings at a special board meeting
Monday night, then announced the building will be shut down until further notice.
Mead Environmental of Cape Girardeau found traces of black mold inside several
of the classrooms in Dongola's new elementary wing. It also turned up in the
cafeteria and the building's old gymnasium.
Several students and a few teachers began complaining of an itching, burning
skin rash back on January sixth. District leaders closed down the building on
several occasions, quarantined the fifth and sixth grade classrooms, and even
brought in the Environmental Protection Agency to run air tests. The EPA did
not find any chemical or other substance that would cause a skin rash. The district
brought in Mead Environmental Friday to run mold tests while the building was
closed because of bad weather. The school board will meet in special session
Tuesday night to discuss how the building will be cleaned and when it will be
Stachybotrys, commonly known as black mold or toxic mold, is one of the most
dangerous types of mold. A biologist in the Heartland says stachybotrys "can
possibly" lead to skin irriations or rashes.
But it's not yet certain if it's causing some students in Dongola to break
out in a rash.
We do know stachybotrys can cause mild symptoms like nasal stuffiness, eye
irritations, or wheezing. More severe reactions can be a fever or shortness
of breath. People with chronic lung illnesses could develop mold infections
in their lungs. For some there are no problems at all. But people with asthma
or weakened respiratory systems are especially at risk.
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