A growing number of people in the U.S. are suffering from an aggressive citrus disease called citrus paradisis, a disease that can affect people of all ages.
A group of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has found that it is very likely that a large percentage of those infected are over 65.
The researchers say that the disease is more prevalent in Southern California than elsewhere.
In addition to being associated with serious complications, patients have other problems, including liver and kidney problems.
“People are dying because of it,” Dr. Peter Gartenberg, the lead researcher of the study, told ABC News.
Gartenberg and his colleagues studied the medical records of about 1,000 patients in Los Angeles, New York, Florida, and Texas.
They found that almost a third of patients had been diagnosed with a serious complication, like liver or kidney failure, or had been found to have elevated levels of a potentially fatal toxin called leukotriene A, or LEA.
This was compared to more than half of the other counties in the United States, which is not surprising, Gartenburg said.
“In many cases, these individuals had died prior to being diagnosed with the disease,” he said.
“They died of the disease, and they died in the midst of this disease.”
This is not the first time the researchers have reported that the problem is becoming more prevalent.
A report from the U-T San Diego Medical Center last year reported that “a significant number of patients are exhibiting signs of LEA-induced toxicity” in Southern Califonces.
Dr. Steven Hwang, a professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo, said the number of cases has increased dramatically.
“What’s particularly worrisome is that it’s happening at a time when our national population is aging, and the disease rate is rising,” he told ABCNews.
“The more we see the prevalence, the more people we have to deal with.”
Hwang also said that many of the symptoms of LEAs are more severe than what was reported in the past.
“It’s not just the symptoms that are happening.
It’s the underlying pathology that’s occurring,” he explained.
Hwang said that LEAs typically affect adults who are at higher risk for other diseases.
“These patients are not going to have symptoms of a benign disease, but the underlying pathologies are,” he added.
In this case, the researchers say, there was no obvious indication that the patients were over 65 years old.
Hange told ABCNEWS that the authors of the report have a lot of work to do before they can definitively state that LEA is more common in the Southern California area.
But he said that the study is important because it highlights the importance of being cautious in dealing with patients with LEAs.
“We’re looking at a very complex disease that affects people of many different ages,” he stated.
“If people are being treated poorly and there is no evidence of any harm, then it’s hard to justify the treatment.
If we can prove there’s a real danger, then we can make a change.”
Dr. Gartberg said that he hopes that the public will continue to take the time to educate themselves about the disease and the potential complications.
“I don’t think people need to panic,” he stressed.
“If they’re over 65, I don’t believe they’re at a greater risk of developing this disease than people who are not over 65.”