Blastomycosis

June 09 23:24 2019 Print This Article

Blastomycosis is an infection found in dogs, people, and occasionally cats. It is caused by the fungal organism Blastomyces dermatitidis. In 1894, Gilchrist first described blastomycosis in the United States. As new research and experience broaden our knowledge, changes in the approach to diagnosis and therapy become necessary and appropriate. Infection occurs by inhalation of aerosolized conidial forms of the fungus from its natural soil habitat. It is commonly misdiagnosed, often as cancer, Valley fever, Lyme disease, and other viral infections.

The clinical spectrum of blastomycosisis varied, including asymptomatic infection, acute orchronic pneumonia, and disseminated disease. Blastomycosis, or a subtype of Blastomycosis, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population. Disease can range from an asymptomatic, self-healing pulmonary infection to widely disseminated fatal disease.

Blastomycosis is a common infection among dogs in endemic areas. Physicians are particularly reminded that consultation with a specialist in Infectious Diseases may be warranted in complex or life-threatening situations. Most patients diagnosed with blastomycosis have the indolent onset of chronic pneumonia. While any dog may contract blastomycosis under the right circumstances, certain populations are at greater risk.

The symptoms often donot appear until weeks or months after exposure. The mycelial form grows as a white mold. The conidia (spores) that convert to yeast are infectious to humans. Soil wet with organic matter is ideal festering ground for this fungus; most cases have been reported around the Mississippi river system and the Great Lakes. Most patients with blastomycosis will require therapy. Spontaneous cures may occur in some immunocompetent individuals with acute pulmonary blastomycosis.

Causes of Blastomycosis

Here are the list of the possible causes of Blastomycosis :

  • Being around infected soil is the key risk factor.
  • The disease usually affects people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or organ transplant recipients.
  • Bleeding disorder including anticoagulant therapy.
  • Bronchial adenoma.
  • The mycelial form of B dermatitidis has been isolated from soil, although its ecologic niche is not characterized as well as other endemic fungi.
  • Inhalation of the microconidia from the mold form of B dermatitidis into the lungs leads to infection.
  • Fungus infection of the lung such as coccidiomycosis, histoplasmosis , blastomycosis.

Symptoms of Blastomycosis

Some sign and symptoms related to Blastomycosis are as follows:

  • Joint stiffness and joint pain.
  • Muscle stiffness and pain.
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill-feeling (malaise).
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Skin lesions.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Drenching sweats.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • A cough.
  • Productive cough.
  • Myalgia.

Treatment of Blastomycosis

Here is list some of the methods for treating Candidiasis:

  • Treatment of blastomycosis in the pediatric age group is based largely on experience with adult patients.
  • In the past, Amphotericin-B was the only known medication useful against Blastomycosis and the other systemic fungal organisms.
  • Treatment with the fungicidal drug ketoconazole (Nizoral) taken orally is effective in about 75% of patients.
  • immunocompromised patients and patients with progressive pulmonary disease or extrapulmonary disease should be treated.
  • Surgery has only a limited role in the treatment of blastomycosis.

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