Blastomycosis is an uncommon, but potentially serious fungal infection. It primarily affects the lungs, and is caused by the fungus Blastomyces. The signs and symptoms of illness that can result from exposure to this soil organism are variable.
Approximately 50% of people who are infected with Blastomyces will not have symptoms. Among the infected persons who develop symptoms, the symptoms vary from mild to severe, and can be fatal. A very serious progressive illness involving multiple organ systems can occur in an untreated patient.
- Blasto is an infection caused by the fungus Blastomyces.
- The fungus lives in moist soil and decaying wood and leaves.
- Illness can occur two to 15 weeks after breathing in the fungal spores.
- Symptoms can include cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, joint pain, and chest pain.
- The infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the skin or bones.
- Blasto is not spread from person to person.
- People who smoke, have lung disease, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to become sick.
- Blasto is treatable with antifungal medications.
- People who are sick and are concerned about Blasto should visit their doctor.
- Learn more about Blastomycosis at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website.
- Blastomycosis, P-42030: Fact sheet describing signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention of blastomycosis.
- Blastomycosis and Pets, P-03191 (PDF): Fact sheet describing the risk of blastomycosis to pets.
- Blastomycosis: Employers and Workers, P-03246: Fact sheet describing the risk of blastomycosis due to occupation.
- Listen to a podcast about Blastomycosis at the UW-Madison Think Blasto! website.
This is a Wisconsin disease surveillance category II disease:
- Report to the patient's local public health department
- Electronically, through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS),
- By U.S. mail or fax, using an Acute and Communicable Disease case report, F-44151 (Word), or
- By other means within 72 hours upon recognition of a case.
- Information on communicable disease reporting
Wisconsin case reporting and public health follow-up guidelines
- Case Reporting and Investigation Protocol (EpiNet) Blastomycosis, P-01924 (PDF)
- Wisconsin blastomycosis case worksheet, F-01758 (PDF)
- Wisconsin blastomycosis case worksheet, F-01758 (Word)
Clinical case management resources
- Johnson and Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation can provide help for uninsured patients needing itraconazole/Sporanox treatment. The application for this must be completed by the patient and signed by the physician
- Blastomycosis clinical case management guidance (IDSA)
- Blastomycosis information (CDC)
Questions about Blastomycosis? Contact us!
Phone: 608-267-9003 | Fax: 608-267-9009