NEWS SCAN: H5N1 death in China, blastomycosis in Wisconsin

Jun 4, 2010

Chinese woman dies of H5N1 infection
China's health ministry today reported that a 22-year-old pregnant woman from Hubei province in the central part of the country died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, Xinhua, China's state news agency reported. She was hospitalized on May 23 and died yesterday, the same day her H5N1 infection was confirmed. The health ministry said the woman had contact with sick birds, though no poultry outbreaks were detected in the region where she lived. The case and death are China's first of 2010. If the World Health Organization confirms the findings, the woman will be listed as China's 39th case and its 26th fatality.
Jun 4 Xinhua story

Wisconsin reports unusual blastomycosis activity
Experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are slated to help officials from Marathon County, Wisc., investigate a blastomycosis outbreak that has sickened 32 people since January, according to a report from WSAU radio news. Dr Ruth Marx, the county's epidemiologist, said the department is averaging about one case each week. She added that the illnesses don't fit the normal profile and are striking more women and younger people in different geographic clusters. Blastomycosis is a fungal infection spread by inhaling spores of Blastomyces dermatitidis that can cause a lung infection that, when untreated, can involve other organ systems, according to background materials from the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Symptoms can include a dry cough, fever, chest pain, and eventually weight loss. The fungus resides in moist soil that contains decomposing organic matter, and spores can become airborne when the soil is disturbed.
Jun 4 WSAU news report

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