July 24, 2019
The Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark Public Health Unit has received a report of a diagnosis of Blastomycosis for an individual living in Lanark County. The following information and Website link provides information that can assist in the diagnosis and treatment on Blastomycosis.
Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs, and can become a systemic infection with extrapulmonary manifestations. Up to 50% of pulmonary cases remain asymptomatic. Pulmonary blastomycosis may be acute or chronic.
Acute pulmonary infection, which often goes undiagnosed, presents as an influenza-like illness with the sudden onset of fever, cough, and a pulmonary infiltrate on chest radiographs. The acute disease often resolves spontaneously after 1–3 weeks. A subset of those with acute infection will go on to severe disease and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
The source of infection is the Inhalation of airborne spores in dust from the mould or saprophytic growth form in the ground. Cases of blastomycosis from direct inoculation into the skin are rare.
No person-to-person transmission or zoonotic transmission. Infection in animals, particularly dogs, has been identified, but animals do not appear to directly transmit the disease to humans.
People who participate in outdoor activities in wooded areas (such as forestry work, hunting, and camping) in endemic areas may be at higher risk of exposure to Blastomyces spp. Susceptibility is general in areas where B. dermatitidis is present in the environment. Immunocompromised individuals have higher morbidity and mortality with Blastomycosis infection.
Information on laboratory testing and treatment are available at https://healthunit.org/for-professionals/health-care-dental/communicable-disease-resources/reportable-disease-toolkit/blastomycosis/