Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Blastomycosis

 

Definition

Blastomycosis is a rare infection that may develop when people breathe in (inhale) a fungus called Blastomyces dermatitidis, which is found in wood and soil.

Alternative Names

North American blastomycosis; Gilchrist's disease

Causes

Blastomycosis occurs in people living in the south-central and midwestern United States and Canada. The infection is seen in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in areas where the fungus most often occurs. It is even less common outside those areas.

Being around infected soil is the key risk factor.

The disease usually affects people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or who have had an organ transplant. Men are more likely to be affected than women.

Symptoms

Lung infection may produce no symptoms, but when the infection spreads, skin or bone sores (lesions) may appear. The bladder, kidney, prostate, and testes may be affected.

Other symptoms may include:

Signs and tests
Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Patients with minor skin sores (lesions) and relatively mild lung infections usually recover completely. If the infection is not treated, it can become severe enough to cause death.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of blastomycosis.

Complications
  • Large sores with pus (abscesses)
  • Return of the infection (relapse or disease recurrence)
  • Side effects from drugs such as amphotericin B
Treatments

Medicines may not be needed for a blastomycosis infection that stays in the lungs, unless it becomes severe. When the disease is severe, or when it spreads outside of the lungs, the following medicines (anti-fungals) may be prescribed:

  • Fluconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole

Amphotericin B may be used for severe infections.

Follow-up regularly with your doctor to make sure the infection doesn't return.

Prevention

Avoiding travel to areas where the infection is known to occur may help prevent exposure to the fungus, but this may not always be possible.

References

Chapman SW. Plastomyces dermatitidis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2005: chap 263.


Review Date: 9/17/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, PhD, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |