Safety Library

Categories: Health & Welfare

A reminder on Sooty Bark Disease

Human Disease

The spores are hyper-allergenic; they can cause severe asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Maple bark disease, or maple bark stripper’s disease, is an uncommon condition caused by exposure to the spores of C. corticale. The disease has been found among workers in the paper industry employed to debark, cut and chip maple logs. The symptoms include breathlessness, fever, night sweats, chills and weight loss. In North America, it has only been an issue when logs have been stored for at least 6 months but where it is a pathogen, large numbers of spores can be released even before the tree dies, and removing or harvesting dead standing trees can endanger workers.

Forest workers must wear personal protective equipment when working around dead and diseased maples​. It is recommended to keep the public away while working on trees, and preferably to use machine felling rather than chainsaws. It is also advised to work during wet weather to reduce the number of airborne spores. Wood should not be used for firewood. It should be covered during transport and burned. Personal protective equipment includes:

  • Goggles
  • Respirator FFP3
  • Protective suit with hood
  • Protective gloves
  • Closed shoes or boots that are easy to clean
  • Disinfection should not be needed, since it doesn’t infect humans. The goal is to avoid inhaling large numbers of spores.
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