Blastomycosis : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : North American blastomycosis, Gilchrist’s disease

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.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

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.

Pictures & Images

Fungus

Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi) that can live on the skin. They can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers.


Review Date : 12/1/2009
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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