What Is Blastomycosis?

Blastomycosis, medically referred to as Blastomyces dermatitidis, is a fungal infection that is caused by inhaling microscopic spores present in the environment. It can affect the lungs, skin, bones, and other internal organs of the body. The fungus is found in the soil in areas across North America and is more commonly seen in wet and moist regions. The general symptoms of Blastomycosis include fever, chest pain, and a dry, non-productive cough. In some cases, patients may also experience pneumonia, asthma, or shortness of breath.

Signs and Symptoms

Blastomycosis can affect different parts of the body. The signs and symptoms of the fungal infection vary depending on the site of infection. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Painful swallow
  • Skin lesions or rashes
  • Bones pain
  • Enlarged liver and spleen


Treatment for blastomycosis includes antifungal medications taken orally or intravenously. Patients usually respond well to treatment but may sometimes need prolonged courses of medication to completely eradicate the infection. If the infection has spread to the brain or bone tissues, then treatment may include surgery to remove the infected tissue.


Blastomycosis can cause permanent damage to the lungs, brain, or joints if left untreated. This can lead to chronic respiratory or neurological conditions. The complications associated with the infection include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Brain abscess
  • Meningitis
  • Polyarthritis
  • Liver and spleen enlargement
  • Lung collapse
  • Kidney failure


Preventing exposure to the fungus is the best way to avoid infection. It is advised to avoid activities that disturb the soil. It is also important to wear protective clothing and avoid contact with soil or water in affected areas. People with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of developing blastomycosis and should take extra precautions when engaging in outdoor activities.