Michigan paper mill with unusual illnesses reopens

ESCANABA (Mich.) (AP). -- After closing its doors for three weeks due to an unusual outbreak, a paper mill in northern Michigan has resumed normal operations.

Billerud Paper Mill, Escanaba, reopened on Monday after a deep clean recommended by experts and public health authorities, according to the company.

The mill stated that no spores associated with the blastomycosis illness had been found.

Billerud stated that 'we continue to work with local, state, and federal health experts and follow their recommendations as they continue investigating this dynamic situation.

According to the Delta County Public Health Department, the infection is caused by a fungus which grows in moist soil, decomposing wood, and leaves. The department had previously disclosed in March a number unusual pneumonia infections.

There have been

There were 115 cases reported of blastomycosis

The department reported last week that 14 people - workers, contractors, or mill visitors - have been admitted to hospital. One person died.

Blastomycosis is not contagious. Common symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breathe. Joint pains, weight loss, and joint swelling are also common. Incubation periods can vary from 21 to 90 days.

The mill in Michigan's Upper Peninsula employs over 800 people. It produces magazines, catalogs and books, among other things. Billerud's headquarters are in Sweden.