There has been at least one death and Nearly 100 A rare fungal infection at a papermill in MichiganThe health officials said that the local authorities had temporarily closed the facility. and Federal investigators attempt to determine the source.
Since February, the outbreak of blastomycosis has increased at Billerud Paper Mill in Escanaba.
Initial local authorities identified approximately 15 cases. By mid-AprilThe number of confirmed cases has now reached 21 and 76 probable cases. Dozen people were hospitalized and One person is dead.
The reported cases all involve workers, contractors or guests to the factory.
Billerud, an online newspaper based in Sweden and Packing company said on Thursday The mill will be closed for three full weeks, starting the week after next, to do a thorough clean-up, to inspect ventilation systems, and to replace filters. and Test different raw materials that are coming into the mill. It employs approximately 830 workers. It said that to clean the additional mill, large areas of it must be empty.
“Identifying the source can be difficult because the Blastomyces fungus is endemic to the area,” In a press release, the company stated that. “There has never been an industrial outbreak of this nature documented anywhere in the U.S.”
Blastomycosis occurs when the Blastomyces fungal spores grow in soil that is moist. and Wood and other decomposing materials and leaves, and If disturbed, can fly.
Blastomycosis is rare. U.S. Centers for Disease Control will release their annual report for 2019. and The following is a list of preventions. reported 240 cases of blastomycosis in total.
In the last five years there have only been 26 reported cases in total. MichiganThe local health agency has confirmed this. The agency did note that the Upper Peninsula was not included in this. Michigan It is known that blastomycosis can be transmitted in this area.
According to C.D.C. “Blastomycosis remains poorly understood.” This fungus is primarily found in the Midwest and South Central regions. and Southeastern states in particular, areas near the Ohio and The Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Valleys and St. Lawrence River
Blastomyces is not harmful to most people. Some of the symptoms are a fever (sometimes bloody), a sore throat, chest discomfort, sleeplessness, fatigue and night sweats. and joint pain. The symptoms appear three to six months after the exposure. Treatment for blastomycosis is possible with antifungal drugs.
Initial symptoms began to appear in patients as early as January and The authorities have said February.
National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOS) team and The mill was visited by Health on March 27, and 28 after a request from Billerud, according to an April 7 letter from Marcia Stanton, a health scientist with the agency, which was (*1*).
To reduce exposure, the agency recommended to the company that N95 masks be made available. and Inspection of the ventilation system and ductwork for “evidence of water incursion and microbial growth” Investigations continue.
C.D.C. The C.D.C. stated in a written statement that the plan was to go back to the mill at the end of April for a screening test to determine potential exposure to Blastomyces. The participation would be optional.
Test results will be used to assist investigators and a questionnaire “to inform an environmental sampling strategy,” The agency added that data could help narrow down testing areas at the mill’s 2,000 acres.
“Our top priority now and always is protecting the health and safety of our employees and contractors who work at our Escanaba mill,” Christoph Michalski as the President and Billerud’s CEO said so in a public statement. “We care deeply about their well-being and are doing everything we can to protect them and identify and address the root cause of the blastomycosis fungal infections.”
As per Billerud’s websiteThe Escanaba Mill began producing paper in 1911 under the name Escanaba pulp and Paper Company. The mill is currently producing graphic paper for commercial printing and marketing materials. and Labels and It has the ability to produce approximately 660,000 tons per year of paper.