By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Blastomycosis is a fungal infection usually acquired by breathing in the spores of the fungi, Blastomyces dermatitidis or Blastomyces gilchristii.
In Minnesota from 1999-2018, 671 laboratory-confirmed cases of human blastomycosis were reported.
Officials note that each year, a median of 34 cases of blastomycosis are reported in Minnesota. Recently these numbers have increased; in 2018, 58 cases were reported, more than any single year during this time frame.
In Minnesota, about 1/3 of cases live and are diagnosed in a different county than where they were exposed to Blastomyces.
While most people are exposed in northern counties, or those along the Mississippi or St. Croix Rivers, people can be exposed to Blastomyces in many counties across the state.
Approximately 10% of cases die of blastomycosis.
Blastomyces dermatitidis can be found throughout the world, but is most common in parts of North, Central, and South America. In the United States, the fungus is endemic in the Southeast and the Midwest.
The time between exposure to the spores and when symptoms develop varies widely, ranging from 21 to 100 days. About 50% of infections are asymptomatic (no symptoms).
When symptoms of blastomycosis are present, they may include: Fever, cough, or cough with blood, shortness of breath, muscle aches, bone pain, back pain, chest pain, fatigue, weight loss, chills and/or night sweats and skin sores.