He took the trombone to a doctor at the University of Connecticut Medical School who did cultures on the inside of the horn. The cultures showed a mold, Fusarium and a bacteria Mycobacterium chelonae, which is related to TB. Each time Scott inhaled the mold and the bacteria broke off and entered his lungs. There they caused an allergic reaction that in turn lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a severe inflammation of the lungs. This is a known disease but no one had ever thought of a musical instrument as the causative agent.
Dr. Mark Metersky did a pilot study on trombones and trumpets from professional musicians. He stopped at 10 because all were contaminated. He described it as: “It was disgusting. Imagine the worst thing you’ve found in your refrigerator in food that you’ve left for a few months, and that was coming out of these instruments.” I think everyone who returned to his or her homes after the Big K can relate to that!
Scott Bean, like Craig Klein, now use a rod with a cloth and pours alcohol (rubbing or isopropyl alcohol, not the ethyl one drinks) down the horn and cleans it thoroughly.
And if we haven’t creeped you out enough: it will be the cold and flu season. The viruses that cause these are often passed on inanimate objects such as money or even piano keys. To those sharing keyboards or other instruments, you should carry disinfecting wipes to do a quick wipe of the keys.
All of us the NOMC and NOMAF love you and want you to be healthy and to play as long as you like. So, PLEASE, clean those instruments!!!
Rose Mancini, RN
New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic (NOMC)
and Assistance Foundation (NOMAF)