Published On: Thu, Jun 24th, 2010

Wisconsin blastomycosis outbreak attracts CDC investigators

Since the beginning of the year, the Marathon County health department in Wisconsin has reported 32 cases of the fungal disease, blastomycosis, averaging about one case a week.

To help in the investigation of this outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be sending at least one scientist to assist local health officials.

According to Marathon County epidemiologist, Ruth Marx, the cases of blastomycosis have shown a little abnormal pattern by affecting mostly women and younger people and some of the people contracted the disease during the winter months.

Blastomycosis is caused by the dimorphic fungi, Blastomyces dermatitidis. It is endemic in the southeastern and Midwestern United States and his classically associated with the Ohio and Mississippi river valley region.

People typically get infected with this fungus via the lungs through inhalation. Infection can mimic bacterial pneumonia and chronic infection is often confused with tuberculosis.

The fungus can also disseminate through the bloodstream infecting the skin causing lesions on the face and extremities. To a lesser extent, the bone, the prostate and the epididymis can become infected.
Untreated disseminated or chronic pulmonary disease can progress to death.

Blastomycosis can be diagnosed through laboratory testing to include microscopic exam, culture and molecular methods. Itraconazole is the drug of choice for treatment of blastomycosis.



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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63


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