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Duplin Health Officials Investigating Source Of Fungal Infection

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WARSAW, N.C. — Duplin County health officials are searching for the source of a dangerous infection that has made as many as five people sick.

Three students from

James Kenan High School

in Warsaw have been diagnosed with a fungal infection called



An elderly man and a girl are also showing signs of being exposed to the illness.

Dr. Shelly Vaden, who works at the N.C. State Veterinary School, has seen the soil-borne fungus infect dogs.

"All I can speak for is our dog population and the dogs we see coming into the hospital, and it's not a common infection, but we see it on a fairly regular basis over the years," Vaden said. "When a dog comes into our facility and they have blastomycosis, they generally have pulmonary infections, but they can also have skin infections. They can have large lymph nodes. They can have changes in their vision."

The illness affects the lungs and the skin. Exposure to blastomycosis comes from breathing in spores. It cannot be passed from person to person.

The symptoms are similar to the flu, including chest pain and a cough. Once diagosed, it can be treated with medication.


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