A contract worker at a Michigan paper mill has died from a blastomycosis infection. The facility has been shut down for deep cleaning.

Public health officials announced Friday that a Billerud Paper Mill worker, whose name was not disclosed, died as a result of a blastomycosis infection. The time of death was also not disclosed in the press release from Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties (PHDM).

"Everyone at Billerud is deeply saddened by this news. Anyone who works at our facility is part of our team, and we are keeping this individual, their family, coworkers and friends in our thoughts and close to our hearts," the Escanaba mill's operations vice president Brian Peterson said in the press release.

Blastomycosis is an infection caused by the Blastomyces fungus, which lives in moist soil and decomposing matter such as leaves and wood. People can get infected after breathing in fungal spores. Although most do not get sick, others develop symptoms like fever and cough. The infection can also become serious when left untreated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Billerud first heard of a potential outbreak from the PHDM in early March. By April 14, the mill reported at least 21 confirmed cases and 76 probable cases. At least 12 employees have been hospitalized.

In response to the outbreak, Billerud, which employs more than 800 people, has decided to shut down its manufacturing facility for up to three weeks for "deep cleaning."

Billerud North America President Kevin Kuznicki said the operation would include vent inspections, filter replacements and raw materials testing, as per ClickOnDetroit.

"Our top priority now and always is protecting the health and safety of our employees and contractors who work at our Escanaba Mill," Billerud CEO Christoph Michalski added in a company statement obtained by Fox News.

No other industrial outbreak of the fungus has been reported in other parts of the U.S.

Headquartered in Sweden, Billerud is known for producing paper for magazines, catalogs, books and other products since 1911.

Fungus Attacking Dogs In Chicago
Dog owners in the Chicago area should be aware that a number of dogs this year have died from fungal infections after inhaling toxins while nosing around in wooded areas. Creative Commons