Blastomycosis


Blastomycosis

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Blastomycosis

Alternative Name: Gilchrist disease.

A chronic granulomatous and suppurative disease caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis; originates as a respiratory infection and disseminates, usually with pulmonary, osseous, and/or cutaneous involvement predominating.

Blastomycosis is a relatively rare disease, from 1992 to 2000 an average of 86 cases have been reported.

Blastomycosis is a rare infection that may develop when people breathe in a fungus called Blastomyces dermatitidis, which is found in wood and soil. Blastomycosis develops when spores of the B. dermatitidis are breathed in and establish a primary infection in the lung. In nature, the fungus probably resides in the soil in decaying foliage and vegetation. Only under quite specific conditions of humidity, temperature and nutrition can the fungus grow and produce the infecting particles, the spores. The spores become airborne when the soil in which the fungus is growing is disturbed. This aerosol is then inhaled by humans or other mammals. Thus, activities that involve disrupting the soil are likely to put a person at increased risk for acquiring blastomycosis.

Blastomycosis has a higher incidence in males than females.

Primary cutaneous blastomycosis is rare and occurs following direct inoculation of the organism into the skin. Skin lesions are commonly located on the face, neck and extremities. Usually presents as verrucous nodules or ulcerated plaques. Widespread pustular eruptions have been reported. Multiple lesions may appear. In some cases there is healing and scar formation. Secondary cutaneous lesions occur in the course of disseminated disease.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of blastomycosisusually appear three weeks to several monthsafter infection in people. Symptomatic disease develops after an incubation periodof 30-45 days.

Some common symptoms include:

    Shortness of breath.

  • Chest pain.

  • Cough.

  • Fever.

  • Sweating.

  • Fatigue.

  • General discomfort.

  • Malaise.

  • Skin lesions may be nodular, verrucous, and/or ulcerative.

  • Joint stiffness and pain.

  • Muscle stiffness and pain.

  • Unintentional weight loss.

Risk Factors:

    Gardening and farming.

  • Diabetes mellitus.

  • Use of drugs that suppress the immune system.

Diagnosis:

Differential diagnosis include: Histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis, tuberculosis.

People with symptomatic blastomycosis may haveabnormalities present on their chest X-rays, but adiagnosis can only be confirmed by the identification ofblastomyces in the sputum, skin, or biopsy of infectedtissue. Blood tests may be done to determine if a personhas had a previous blastomycosis infection; however,blood tests will not confirm all cases and may result in afalse positive. Skin tests may also be done, but do notconfirm a blastomycosis infection.

Treatment:

Once this disease has been diagnosed, the disease can be treated with antifungal drugs such as itraconazole, amphotericin B, or fluconazole. For life-threatening blastomycosis or blastomycosis of the central nervous system, amphotericin B is the treatment of choice. Itraconazole or fluconazole are excellent for treatment of patients who are not critically ill or who have no central nervous system involvement.

Disclaimer: The above information is just informative purpose especially causes, diagnosis, and treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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