Suspected but unconfirmed fungal infection from Wolf River


Hannah Konetzke has been in the hospital for days. She was diagnosed with blastomycosis, and thinks she got it after taking a river tubing trip.

Konetzke said, "I was feeling fatigued and nauseous. They found spots on my lungs, did a CAT scan and found three golf ball-sized abscesses. I met with a lung doctor and the first thing he asked me was if I went down the Wolf River."

The Center for Disease Control says blastomycosis comes from a fungus that lives in moist soil. People can become infected by inhaling the airborne fungal spores.

The Outagamie County Health Department is investigating a cluster of cases of blastomycosis.

Joe Ellen Biadasz, nursing supervisor at the Outagamie County Health Department said, "We don't want to make an assumption. It seems like the common thread may be the river tubing trip, but we wont know that until we complete the investigation."

But Konetzke wants people to be aware. She said, "You don't think about it when you're just going down with friends, having a good time. You should be careful, look out for symptoms you get. The whole ordeal is not fun; I don't wish it upon anyone."

Biadasz said, "We don't want individuals to panic, we want everyone to use good prudent judgment."

The Health Department also recommends getting checked out if you are showing symptoms.

Biadasz said, "When you're out in the wilderness, there are many things you can come in contact with. It's knowing if you become symptomatic that you reach out to your family health care provider."

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