Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Death by Bagpipe?

I didn't know that was a thing. But apparently, it is:
A 61-year-old British musician died from “bagpipe lung,” a disease triggered by fungi living inside the much-loved, much-hated instrument, doctors claim.

The research team, which detailed the case in “Thorax” medical journal Monday, urged bagpipers to regularly and carefully clean their pipes to avoid developing the disease, known more formally as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Apparently, it's not completely unknown and it has happened to musicians of other wind instruments.

Maybe it's worse for bagpipes, can they blow-back from the bag and up the inflation pipe? Not knowing anything about their construction, I'd guess that the bag of the thing has to be a great host for fungi, what with warm, moist air being blown into it by the piper.


Chuck Pergiel said...

I came down with a mild fungal lung infection when I was living in Phoenix. Never heard of it before, but evidently it's a real thing. Several cases involving soldiers during WW2. Funny, I can't even remember the name of it now. Something dumb that gives you no clue as to what it's about. No bagpipes involved, just ancient alien microbes lying in wait in the desert . . .

CenterPuke88 said...

A bagpipe blow stick has a flapper valve at the base, to allow the piper to pause blowing without getting a huge gust of air pushing back up the blowpipe...but the older style valves were often leather and leaky unless moist...

Dark Avenger said...

From the clues you gave, Chuck, the disease you're talking about is Valley Fever, a fungal organism that can kill if it isn't caught in time.


C. immitis is a dimorphic saprophytic fungus that grows as a mycelium in the soil and produces a spherule form in the host organism. It resides in the soil in certain parts of the southwestern United States, most notably in California and Arizona.[1] It is also commonly found in northern Mexico, and parts of Central and South America.[1] C. immitis is dormant during long dry spells, then develops as a mold with long filaments that break off into airborne spores when it rains. The spores, known as arthroconidia, are swept into the air by disruption of the soil, such as during construction, farming, or an earthquake.[5] Windstorms may also cause epidemics far from endemic areas. In December 1977 a windstorm in an endemic area around Arvin, CA led to several hundred cases, including deaths, in non-endemic areas hundreds of miles away.[6]

We had a case of a teacher who went out running when there was wind stirring up the dust, he contracted a case of Valley Fever and it killed him.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Yes! Valley Fever, that was the name of it. My case wasn't serious, just a little annoying. Nothing to be done about it, just get plenty of rest. It went away eventually.