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Blastomycosis (cont.)

What Are the Symptoms and Signs Blastomycosis?

Patient Comments

Fortunately, about 50% of all people infected with the fungi do not show any symptoms of blastomycosis. When symptoms of blastomycosis do occur, they appear after a latent or incubation period of time that ranges from about three to 15 weeks after the initial exposure to the fungi. Unfortunately, the initial symptoms of blastomycosis resemble flu symptoms (fever, chills, cough, and discomfort or pain in the muscles, joints, and chest). If blastomycosis is spread by the blood or lymphatic system, skin lesions or bone lesions may develop.

Picture of skin lesions due to blastomycosis
Picture of skin lesions due to blastomycosis; SOURCE: CDC

When Shoud I Call the Doctor About Blastomycosis?

People should seek medical care if they are or have been at risk for coming in contact with the fungi and are immunosuppressed from any cause. Others should seek care if they have the same exposure risk as above and develop flu-like symptoms, especially during the periods of low flu activity (usually late spring through early fall) or they develop prolonged symptoms (usually greater than two weeks) that may increase in severity and/or develop skin nodules.

How Is Blastomycosis Diagnosed?

Presumptive diagnosis of blastomycosis is done by obtaining the patient's history and by seeing the fungi in samples taken from skin scrapings or other infected tissue and examined microscopically. However, the definitive diagnosis of blastomycosis is done by isolating (growing) the fungus from one or more tissue samples (blood, sputum samples or biopsy samples from skin, bone marrow, liver, or other organs). In addition, there are immunology-based tests that can detect fungi present in urine or blood. Another available test can detect antibodies directed against the fungi; this test indicates whether the person has been exposed to the fungi but does not determine active infection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2016

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