By Wally Taylor MD
In my integrative, functional and holistic practice of medicine in Austin, Texas, where I see people suffering from chronic complex illness that has not responded completely to prescription medicine, I frequently encounter folks who have a variety of symptoms from exposure to mold toxins also known as mycotoxins.
This has been more common lately as the result of the extensive rains and flooding that have occurred in our area recently. Mold illness is most often associated with indoor toxic mold exposure that results from water damage to a building (WDB Illness).
Symptoms of mold illness often overlap those from the ill effects of other toxins in our bodies both man-made and those from persistent germs and viruses that may be persisting inside us.
Mold illness symptoms often overlap other illnesses including Lyme Disease
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has written extensively about mold illness and is arguably the nation’s authority on this disorder. He has coined the name Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome also known as CIRS to describe the group of symptoms and signs related to the toxic effects of mold. His website contains a wealth of information relating to mycotoxin illness.
Mold Illness and Vector-Borne Illness such as Lyme Disease are more common than widely believed
The symptoms of CIRS are much the same as the symptoms that many people experience when they have a persistent infection due to certain germs that may be transmitted by the bite of a tick, flea, mosquito or spider. These germs include the names Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and have been described to cause diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Borreliosis, Babesiosis, Cat Scratch Fever, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia, Brucellosis, and Relapsing Fever (together this group is referred to as tick-borne or vector-borne zoonotic illness). I often see folks that suffer from the combination of Mold Illness and Vector-borne Illness at the same time since both illnesses are unfortunately more common than is widely believed. The list of diseases that may in fact be misdiagnosed that are actually due to the systemic effects of mycotoxins includes: (Reference-http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/common-misdiagnosis)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Attention Deficit Disorder
In any individual the best way to understand the nature of their symptoms is to take a very thorough history relating to the onset of the symptoms and the environmental exposures of that person. Lab tests can then be used to further define the nature and degree of disease. I always tell my patients that in the case of illness due to toxins in the body, the first order of business is to assure that there is not a continuing exposure to more toxins. This is especially true of Mold Illness. As long as a person continues to be exposed to mycotoxins in their indoor environment, it is unlikely that any form of treatment is going to be completely successful in eliminating symptoms!
As long as mycotoxin exposure continues in the indoor environment, it is unlikely that treatment in any form will be completely successful in eliminating symptoms
If mold illness is suspected or when there has been water damage or when mold growth is noted (by smell or observation), it may be essential to seek out the services of a certified mold inspector.
If there is a potential mold issue in a house and there is a moisture source, the mold will continue to grow until it becomes a much larger problem
I asked Dan Yates of Texas Mold Consultants to comment about the frequent concern I hear from my patients that they are afraid to have their home mold inspected because they believe it could jeopardize later sale of the home. Here is Dan’s response:
“Upon the sale of their home, there will be an inspection done that includes the “water damage” area that typically is referred to a mold inspector-so that many times the mold issue will be discovered anyway upon the sale of the house. If they have it mold inspected now, then they have the benefit of a healthier house to live in until they sell it and the extent of mold growth is stopped now. If they ignore the potential mold issue and there is a moisture source, the mold will continue to grow in magnitude until it becomes a much larger problem. When I do a mold assessment/testing, I am not required to report anything to the State or anyone else.”
“The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) “Certificate of Mold Damage Remediation” that is issued by a licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (MAC) and licensed Mold Remediation Contractor (MRC) is intended to prevent insurors and mortgage companies from being biased against a house that has had mold taken care of by licensed individuals.”
“Virtually all houses have water issues of some magnitude over the years. It is ignoring the water issue that often leads to much larger mold problems that cost much more. If the house is on the market and mold is discovered then, it appears to have a much more negative impact upon the sale compared to having an issue fixed in prior years with a Mold Certificate issued. Legal issues can arise for the homeowner if they “had knowledge” of a water leak and did nothing-the purchaser may sue claiming the seller “had knowledge” and hid the damage.”
Dan has twenty five years of experience as a licensed mold inspector and frequently provides testimony as an expert witness in legal cases involving indoor mold. Dan can be contacted at 512-563-2253 or by email at
At Forum Health Austin I am highly motivated to identify the root causes of my patients’ chronic complex illness symptoms. I get a tremendous amount of gratification from helping people reduce or eliminate their symptoms by assisting them in removing toxins from their bodies (including mycotoxins). In my experience assisting the body in taking advantage of its own systems of toxin elimination is usually the best way to get well and stay well!
About Wally Taylor MD
Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Forum Health Austin in Austin, Texas. After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy. After 20 years of service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative now Forum Health Austin where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom. He has a special interest in precision genome-based healing of chronic inflammation-caused illness and anti-aging. He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach. Dr. Taylor recently published GOT TO SHINE-A Guidebook for True Health and Sustained Wellness in the 21st Century available in the Amazon bookstore.