The Centers for Disease Control is still baffled by what caused an outbreak of blastomycosis in the Wausau area last year. Federal researchers found there was no single common place that all 55 patients had visited, even though many of the patients knew each other and had been to each other’s homes.
The CDC found the Hmong were more susceptible to the fungus – which may be a result of their genetic makeup. The agency also found that those with underlying chronic medical conditions may be more likely than healthy people to develop blasto.
The CDC says more research is needed to understand how blasto can be prevented. For now, the agency says you should be aware of the symptoms, which can often mimic pneumonia and other long conditions but can affect other parts of the body.
The outbreak appears to have subsided. Only 16 cases have been reported in Marathon County so far this year, compared to 58 the same time a year ago.
Matt Lehman, WSAU
READ: CDC Executive Summary (PDF)