Questionnaire distributed to First Nation to trace source of possible blastomycosis


A First Nation in northern Ontario is handing out flyers and asking residents to fill out a questionnaire in an ongoing effort to trace the source of a fungus suspected of causing lung infections in dozens of residents.

Constance Lake First Nation declared a state of emergency on Monday, after probable cases of blastomycosis came to light in recent days.

Blastomycosis is typically caused by a fungus that grows in moist soil, leaves and rotting wood, and is spread when a person breathes in small particles of the fungus into their lungs.

Symptoms range from a mild cough to serious breathing problems.

In a video update, the chief of Constance Lake First Nation says 13 people are thought to have blastomycosis and at least 40 people are under investigation for it as of Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Ramona Sutherland says a questionnaire is being distributed to residents in the community to see if there are any commonalities in the people possibly being infected with blastomycosis to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.

She also notes that flyers will be delivered to residents to ensure the community has the latest information on the outbreak.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.