Local News

Seventh Case Of Blastomycosis Confirmed In Duplin County

Posted March 27, 2002 1:46 a.m. EST

— State health officials are urging people with persistent lower respiratory tract symptoms to see their doctors after another case of blastomycosis in Duplin County.

On Monday, health officials confirmed a seventh case in a 36-year-old man.

Health officials also confirm that an 82-year-old man died on Thursday. While his exact cause of death is not known, he did have



Exposure to blastomycosis comes from inhaling spores of a fungus known as blastomyces dermatitidis that is commonly found in moist soil throughout the Southeast.

The illness affects the lungs and the skin. 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.

A team of health officials has been in Duplin County for the last month to track down the common exposure, which has affected seven people in the Warsaw area, including three students at James Kenan High School.

Dr. Shelly Vaden, who works at the N.C. State School of Veterinary Medicine, 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."