By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Chief Ramona Sutherland of the Constance Lake First Nation near Timmins, Ontario announced Sunday an outbreak of the fungal infection, blastomycosis.

Blastomyces dermatitidis/CDC

Sutherland said four people from Constance Lake First Nation are confirmed to have blastomycosis, including 3 deaths. The death of one dog was also reported.

What is Blastomyces dermatitidis?

Blastomyces dermatitidis is a fungus lives in moist soil and in association with decomposing organic matter such as wood and leaves. Blastomycosis is a fungal infection usually acquired by breathing in the spores of the fungus. Blastomycosis cannot be spread from person to person or from animals to people.

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Blastomyces dermatitidis is considered a dimorphic fungi- In the environment it exists as a mold with septate aerial hyphae. The hyphae produce conidial spores, which is the source of infection in humans by inhalation. In the body, B. dermatitidis takes the form of a broad-based budding yeast. The yeast may continue to colonize the lungs or disseminate in the bloodstream to other parts of the body, such as the skin, bones and joints, organs, and central nervous system.

Blastomyces dermatitidis can be found throughout the world, but is most common in parts of North, Central, and South America.

The time between exposure to the spores and when symptoms develop varies widely, ranging from 21 to 100 days. About 50% of infections are asymptomatic (no symptoms).

When symptoms of blastomycosis are present, they may include: Fever, cough, or cough with blood, shortness of breath, muscle aches, bone pain, back pain, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, chills and/or night sweats and skin sores.

Blastomyces dermatitidis can be treated with the use of anti-fungal drugs.