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Blastomycosis (cont.)

What Causes Blastomycosis?

Blastomycosis is caused when the conidial forms (spores) of the fungus becomes airborne and are inhaled by a person or susceptible animal. Although the spores can be destroyed by specialized lung cells, the fungal cells are dimorphic and some spores may change into a yeast-like form that is much more resistant to the lung's defensive cells. The body temperature triggers the change from spores to yeast forms; these yeast forms multiply, and some may be transferred to other organs and the skin by the blood or lymphatic system. This action happens during the incubation period described below in the symptom section.

Picture of yeast-like cells of <i>Blastomyces dermatitidis</i> from a patient with 
blastomycosis
Picture of yeast-like cells of Blastomyces dermatitidis from a patient with blastomycosis; SOURCE: CDC/Dr. William Kaplan

What Are the Risk Factors for Blastomycosis?

Although almost anyone can become infected with the fungi, those at highest risk for blastomycosis are immunosuppressed individuals and those that live in or visit areas where the fungal spores are plentiful. Since the fungi prefer damp forested areas, people who are hunters, forestry workers, campers, and farmers are at higher risk to get blastomycosis. Blastomycosis can not be spread from person to person or animal to person.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2016

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