Avocado Algal Leaf Spot (AAL)
Algae are microscopic plants that live in the water column or in the soil. They grow very slowly and they don’t produce any food.
They do not have roots, so they cannot reproduce themselves. However, they can make their way into your home through cracks and crevices in walls or doors, through drains, pipes, sewers etc.. Algae are the most common type of plant life found in homes. They can cause damage to many different types of materials including carpets, upholstery, furniture, windows and even appliances such as air conditioners.
The AAL is a fungal infection caused by the algae Blautia spp., which grows on the surface of the skin or other parts of your body.
The symptoms include itching, burning or stinging sensations along with redness and swelling around the affected area. You may experience these symptoms for several days to weeks after contact with the algae.
How does it affect me?
You might feel like your skin is crawling, you might develop blisters or peeling skin, and you might get small bumps on your face or elsewhere on your body. Some people report that the itchiness goes away within a few hours while others say it lasts longer than a week. If left untreated, AAL can lead to permanent scarring of the affected areas.
How is it spread?
You can get this condition from skin contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces. You may also contract AAL through infected water or food, which may contain traces of the algae. You are more likely to contract the infection if you have a weak immune system or if you are suffering from a medical condition such as eczema. It is important to note that not everyone who has contact with the infectious agent will necessarily experience symptoms of the infection.
How do I prevent getting or spreading this condition?
The best way to avoid AAL is to keep your skin clean and dry. It is also important to practice good hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap and water. Make sure that infected materials such as clothes, towels, bedding, etc. are kept separate from other laundry items. You should also report all known cases of AAL to your local board of health.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
A diagnosis is usually determined by identifying the infectious agent through microscopic examination of skin scrapings, a skin biopsy or a culture of skin tissue. Treatment for this condition is generally focused on relieving the discomfort and itchiness brought about by the condition.
How can I prevent getting this condition in the future?
While there is no sure way of preventing AAL entirely, you can avoid contracting it through proper hygiene and by keeping your skin clean and dry. You should also avoid contact with people who have a history of the condition.
Sources & references used in this article:
Cephaleuros species, the plant-parasitic green algae by SC Nelson – 2008 – scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu
Detection of algal leaf spot (Cephaleuros virescens Kunze) in citrus in Paraná state. by G Malagi, I Santos, SM Mazaro… – Revista Brasileira de …, 2011 – cabdirect.org
Avocado growing in the Florida home landscape by JH Crane, CF Balerdi, I Maguire – Hort. Sci. Dept., Florida Coop. Ext …, 2007 – growables.org
Diseases of avocado by RT McMillan Jr – Proceedings of the First International Tropical …, 1976 – avocadosource.com
Avocado diseases in Florida by HE Stevens, RB Piper – 1941 – books.google.com