Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bagpipe bugs

“I will have to buy a new kilt,” said 78-year-old British bagpiper John Shone (not pictured) who lost 14 lbs. suffering from an infection that nearly took his life. At a loss as to what was causing the illness, the hospital pathology lab finally asked what his hobbies were and tested his instrument. They cultured deadly Rhodotorula and Fusarium fungi that had gotten into his lungs. Bagpipes can be notoriously temperamental and Shone had an important piobaireachd performance coming up, so he hadn't cleaned his instrument in 18 months. Bacteria, mold and fungus can grow in saliva that gets inside instruments including bagpipes, trombones, clarinets, flutes, and saxophones. Using his experience as an example, Shone is reminding other pipers of the potential danger of not cleaning their instruments regularly.



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