No signs of ongoing blastomycosis exposure in Constance Lake: chief

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Currently, there are no signs of ongoing exposure to blastomycosis in Constance Lake First Nation, according to Chief Ramona Sutherland.

Constance Lake declared a state of emergency on Nov. 22 due to the outbreak of blastomycosis in the community.

Blastomycosis is a lung infection caused by a fungus found in soil, wet wood or mould.

There are now 26 confirmed cases of blastomycosis, three probable cases, seven hospitalizations and 134 people under investigation, Sutherland said in a virtual update Jan. 4.

The investigation into the source of the infection is ongoing. It slowed down during the Christmas holiday but will ramp up again, the chief said.

“Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of further exposure, so that’s a good thing,” she said. “There are no signs of ongoing exposure.”

The old woodpile that has been under investigation will be removed from the community even if the test results come back from the lab negative, Sutherland said.

“Because apparently, that’s where blasto grows,” she said. “That’s one of the things we’ve agreed on this morning with government officials and doctors. It only makes a whole bunch of sense for the woodpile to be removed from the community.”

Chief and Council along with the housing department are also “very eager” to find the source of the outbreak, so they could start the housing construction in the community, Sutherland said.

Early detection of blastomycosis will result in early treatment, the chief added urging community members to get checked out at a hospital.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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