Michigan Paper Mill Linked to Rare Fungal Infection: Health Officials Confirm Nearly 100 Cases

19 Confirmed and 74 probable workers are under the supervision

Rare fungal infection Blastomycosis
Blastomycosis in Michigan Paper Mill | Image Credit – Pixabay

A rare fungal infection called Blastomycosis is confirmed in 19 workers in Michigan state. As per the health department, most of the workers affected belonged to the same paper mill – ‘Billerud Paper Mill, Escaneba’.

News was confirmed after workers complained of prolonged cough and fever. On diagnosis, 19 cases were confirmed, and 74 are probable cases to be under examination. The source of the infection is unknown at this time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), It is very common for a person to breathe in fungal spores, but it is very rare to get symptoms of fever or cough within the timeframe of two weeks to three months. Usually, the chances of getting infected with rare fungal infections are very low.

Billerud Paper Mill’s Operation Head stated that the company is monitoring the situation very closely and following strict precautionary measures as guided by the local Health Department.

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What is Rare Fungal Infection Blastomycosis?

Blastomycosis is a rare fungal infection caused by Blastomyces fungus. This fungus is found abundantly in areas of moist soil and decomposing organic matter like wood and tree leaves.

According to data available from the site of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, This rare fungus is found in areas of the Saint Lawrence River, The Great Lakes, and areas around the Ohio River Valleys.

Symptoms of Rare Functional Infection Blastomycosis

Major Symptoms of Blastomycosis mainly include Fever and Cough. Other symptoms as below can also be observed in some patients

  • Chest Pain
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Loss of Weight
  • Joint Pain
  • Prolonged Fever and Cough

In extreme cases where the immunity of the infected is low, fungal infection can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. Symptoms can show up in 3 weeks to 3-month timeframe upon infection.

Diagnosis of Blastomycosis

Blastomycosis can be diagnosed by examining a urine sample or Blood sample. In a few cases, where the cough is persistent Doctors may request a CT scan of the lungs or a Chest X-ray.

Doctors also need to study your travel history to recommend these tests.

The blastomycosis test is widely available at most Health Providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fatality Rate of Blastomycosis?

Blastomycosis is a very rare fungal infection and most of its cases are from either Canada or the United States. According to Center for Disease and Protection, the mortality rate is 0.21 per million person-years.

Can Yoga or Breathing Exercise help in recovery from Blastomycosis?

Yes, Controlled breathing exercises in yoga can help you recover fast from blastomycosis. You can perform the easy pose, corpse pose, cobra pose and tree pose under the supervision of a yoga mentor. You can find a guide to performing those here – Guide to Simple Poses

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