Health officials with Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties (PHDM) continue investigating a blastomycosis (fungal) outbreak associated with the Escanaba Billerud Paper Mill.
As of Friday, 19 blastomycosis cases have been confirmed, while another 74 people have been classified as probable cases.
- A confirmed case is a person with symptoms of blastomycosis and where the fungus has either been grown (culture) or seen by microscope in a test specimen.
- A probable case is a person with symptoms of blastomycosis and who has a positive antigen or antibody test.
Blastomycosis is an uncommon, but potentially serious fungal infection. It primarily affects the lungs, and is caused by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis. The signs and symptoms of illness that can result from exposure to this soil organism are variable. Illness may develop 2-15 weeks after exposure to the fungus.
Approximately 50% of people who are infected with B. dermatitidis will not have symptoms. Among the infected persons who develop symptoms, the symptoms vary from mild to severe, and can be fatal. A very serious progressive illness involving multiple organ systems can occur in untreated patient.
People can get blastomycosis infection by breathing in fungal spores from the air. Blastomycosis does not spread from person to person or between animals and people.
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