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Outbreak of blastomycosis, a fungal lung infection

Outbreak of blastomycosis, a fungal lung infection

NORTHERN, ONTARIO  ~~~~  November 23, 2021  (LSNews)  In a news release, the Notre-Dame Hospital in Hearst said it has transferred 10 adults and six children with symptoms to other hospitals across Ontario.

Blastomycosis is an infection caused by a fungus called blastomyces. Symptoms include a fever, cough, night sweats, chest pain, fatigue and muscle aches.

Severe cases can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, such as the skin, bones and joints, and the central nervous system.

The fungus is generally found in the soil in certain wooded areas in North America, said Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Blastomycosis is a serious pulmonary infection that results from inhalation of fungal spores most often found in moist soil and decaying organic matter.

The infection cannot be spread between people. It can be fatal if someone has a weakened immune system, but is also treatable with a common antifungal.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Derek Fox is calling on provincial and federal ministries and agencies to provide the necessary supports as Constance Lake First Nation has declared a State of Emergency due to an outbreak of a deadly lung infection.

“We are very concerned with the situation in Constance Lake and have assured Chief Ramona Sutherland and Council that we are prepared to assist in any way possible. We look to our federal and provincial Treaty partners to support Constance Lake with the resources they require to address this crisis including access to health care, testing, and mental health supports,” said Grand Chief Derek Fox.

Constance Lake, Indian Reserve No. 92,  Chief Ramona Sutherland hosted a Facebook video Sunday in which she confirmed at least 11 people in her community have shown symptoms of blastomycosis, a fungal lung infection. 

Northern Ontario 
Thunder Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, Hearst, Longlac, Ontario 

#LSN_Health  #LSN_FirstNation

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