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CDC releases report on 2009 blasto outbreak in Wausau


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Marathon County health officials and the CDC have completed their study into the 2009 and 2010 outbreaks of blastomycosis in Wausau and Weston.

There were 74 cases of the disease reported in total, 18 in 2010 and 56 in 2009. The CDC found that exposures to blasto were more widespread than that, but that most people did not fully contract the disease. Based on this investigation, the CDC found that the Hmong population was more at risk of showing symptoms of the disease but that outdoor activity did not increase the risk of infection.

The CDC also did not find a cause or a source of the infections. While many of those under study did live in the same general neighborhood as others with blasto, the CDC couldn't find any specific link between the cases. There is no known preventative measure to stop blasto from spreading. The fungal disease is generally more severe in the elderly or those with already compromised immune systems.

Officials say the best way to treat the condition is prompt medical attention. Common symptoms include weight loss, chest pain, fever and dry cough. You may also have night sweats, cough up blood and have shortness of breath.