Canadian doctors are alarmed when a middle-aged woman dies of cryptococcal meningitis in 1999. Over the next few years, doctors see dozens of similar infections with pneumonia-like symptoms including shortness of breath, weight loss and severe headaches. Vancouver Island becomes home to the largest outbreak of the deadly fungus anywhere in the world. Local veterinarians report dozens of cases in the animal population, raising fears that the reach of the deadly fungus is not limited to any one species. DNA typing reveals that this new form of cryptococcus is identical to a strain normally found in Australia, leaving doctors with more questions than answers.