Blastomycosis is an infection caused by inhaling microscopic particles (spores) produced by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis. Blastomycosis may be limited to the lungs or also involve the skin and bones. In its most severe form, the infection can spread throughout the body and involve many organ systems (systemic).
Blastomycosis is a fungal infection caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis. Although primarily an airborne disease, farmers and gardeners may become infected from contact with spores in the soil through cuts and scrapes. The fungus that causes the disease is found in moist soil and wood in the southeastern United States, the Mississippi River valley, southern Canada, and Central America. Blastomycosis is also called Gilchrist's disease, Chicago disease, or North American blastomycosis. Another South and Central American disease, paracoccidioidomycosis, is sometimes called South American blastomycosis, but despite the similar name, this disease is substantially different from North American blastomycosis. Canine blastomycosis, a common dog disease, is caused by the same fungus that infects humans. However, people do not get this disease from their dogs except only very rarely through dog bites.
Blastomycosis is a rare disease infecting only about 4 in every 100,000 people. It is at least six times more common in men than in women and tends to more often infect children and individuals in the 30–50 year old age group. People who have diabetes mellitus or who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system (immunocompromised) are more likely to develop blastomycosis. Although people with AIDS can get blastomycosis because of their weakened immune system, blastomycosis has not been one of the more common fungal infections associated with AIDS.
Tish Davidson, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,