A father of two who lost his highschool teaching job over a drunk driving charge discovered he failed a Breathalyzer test because he has auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a rare condition where the body produces alcohol within the gut.
Mark Mongiardo, of Estero, Florida, said his symptoms first emerged in 2006 when he was a highschool teacher and coach in Recent Jersey, where coworkers began complaining that he reeked of alcohol despite the proven fact that he never drank at work.
The incident eventually forced him to modify jobs to a college in upstate Recent York, but all the pieces got here crashing down in 2018 when he was suddenly pulled over and charged with drunk driving.
Mongiardo insisted, yet again, that he didn’t drink a drop of alcohol, however the charge cost him his job.
“That’s after I lost all the pieces. I lost all the pieces that anyone could lose,” he told ABC 7. “I needed to sell my house, I needed to sell my automobile. I couldn’t get a job in education, I couldn’t get a job at a food market.
“I had pending felony charges. You realize, I used to be facing prison time for 2 DWIs after I had not been drinking.”
The incidents eventually led Mongiardo to Staten Island-based gastroenterologist Dr. Prasanna Wickremesinghe, one in all the few experts who makes a speciality of treating ABS, who diagnosed him with the condition.
“I began hysterically crying because I actually felt that I had found the reply,” Mongiardo, who now works at a Goal, said.
Answers finally arrived when Mongiardo visited Wickremesinghe, who has been fascinated by ABS since he first encountered it in 2014.
Wickremesinghe, who has been fascinated with ABS since he first encountered it in 2014, told The Post that there is no such thing as a set framework on diagnosing the condition which he said is basically caused when a patient has an adversarial effect to antibiotics.
He said the medication can disrupt the biome within the gut, allowing fungi and yeast to take over. Then when carbohydrates are introduced, the gut ferments alcohol.
“That’s the way you get a patient who appears drunk but claims they haven’t had anything to drink,” Wickremesinghe said.
The expert has treated 30 patients with the condition, which often requires antifungals and a strict low-carb weight loss plan.
Wickremesinghe added that he’s working to lift awareness of ABS within the medical community to be able to help discover more possible patients — and to hopefully establish a framework for diagnosing and treating the condition.
Mongiardo first suspected something was mistaken while he served as a physical education teacher and assistant basketball coach on the Recent Milford High School in Recent Jersey.
While working there, staffers began griping that he smelled of alcohol.
“I’d never do this. I’m a teacher,” Mongiardo said. “I actually had no idea what was occurring.”
Eventually, Mongiardo said he needed to depart the varsity, taking a job because the director of physical education, health and athletics on the Liberty Central School District in 2018.
But only three weeks into his latest job, Mongiardo found himself pulled over by police once they identified his automobile as being much like one other that somebody was littering from.
In the course of the stop, Mongiardo was shocked to learn he had a blood alcohol content of around .18, way above the legal limit.
And it happened again in 2019 when he was pulled over for driving while using his cellphone, with the later incident reaching his employer.
“In the course of the school day, I had a gathering, I used to be forced to take a blood test and a breath test, and I had alcohol in my system,” he said.
Mongiardo was placed on leave for the remainder of the varsity yr, and the varsity told him they’d not renew his contract, effectively sealing his profession in education.
Luckily for Mongiardo, the DWI charges against him were ultimately dismissed on account of prosecutors’ failure to prosecute him in a timely manner.
Now the Florida resident takes 30 pills a day to treat his ABS, following the low-carb weight loss plan and testing himself with a Breathalyzer before getting behind the wheel.
“I’m really coming out on the opposite side in a positive way,” he told ABC. “I’m glad I’m moving forward with my life.”