South American blastomycosis


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Related to South American blastomycosis: paracoccidioidomycosis

South American Blastomycosis

 

Definition

South American blastomycosis is a potentially fatal, chronic fungus infection that occurs more often in men. The infection may affect different parts of the body, including the lungs or the skin, and may cause ulcers of the mouth, voicebox, and nose.

Description

South American blastomycosis occurs primarily in Brazil, although cases crop up in Mexico, Central America, or other parts of South America. It affects men between ages 20 and 50 about 10 times more often than women.
The disease is far more serious than its North American variant (North American blastomycosis), which is endemic to the eastern United States, southern Canada, and the midwest.
South American blastomycosis is known medically as paracoccidioidal granuloma, or paracoccidioidomycosis. The infection has a very long incubation period (at least five years).

Causes and symptoms

South American blastomycosis is caused by the yeast-like fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis that is acquired by breathing in the spores of the fungus, which is commonly found in old wood and soil. It may appear very similar to tuberculosis; in fact, both diseases may infect a patient at the same time.
Symptoms include ulcers in the mouth, larynx and nose, in addition to large, draining lymph nodes, cough, chest pain, swollen lymph glands, weight loss, and lesions on the skin, genitals, and intestines. There may also be lesions in the liver, spleen, intestines, and adrenal glands.

Diagnosis

A physician can diagnose the condition by microscopic examination of a smear prepared from a lesion or sputum (spit). Biopsy specimens may also reveal the infection. While blood tests are helpful, they can't determine the difference between past and active infection.

Treatment

The primary goal of treatment is to control the infection. The best treatment has been amphotericin B. Sulfonamide drugs have been used and can stop the progress of the infection, but they don't kill the fungus.
Scientists are studying new treatments for the fungal infection, including ketoconazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole, which appear to be equally effective as amphotericin B, according to research.

Prognosis

The disease is chronic and often fatal. Because blastomycosis may be recurrent, patients should continue follow-up care for several years.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent the disease.

Resources

Organizations

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Building 31, Room 7A-50, 31 Center Drive MSC 2520, Bethesda, MD 20892-2520. (301) 496-5717. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/default.htm.
National Organization for Rare Disorders. P.O. Box 8923, New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923. (800) 999-6673. http://www.rarediseases.org.

Key terms

Amphotericin B — A drug used to treat fungal infections.
Sulfonamide drugs — A group of antibacterial drugs used to treat infections of the lungs and skin, among other things.

blastomycosis

 [blas″to-mi-ko´sis]
1. infection with any yeastlike organism.
2. an infection usually acquired through the pulmonary route, caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis. There may be suppurating tumors in the skin (cutaneous b.) or lesions in the lungs, bones, subcutaneous tissues, liver, spleen, and kidneys (systemic b.). It runs a fulminant, sometimes fatal, course in immunocompromised patients. Called also North American blastomycosis.
North American blastomycosis blastomycosis (def. 2).
South American blastomycosis paracoccidioidomycosis.

par·a·coc·cid·i·oi·do·my·co·sis

(par'ă-kok-sid'ē-oy'dō-mī-kō'sis),
A chronic mycosis characterized by primary pulmonary lesions with dissemination to many visceral organs, conspicuous ulcerative granulomas of the buccal and nasal mucosa with extensions to the skin, and generalized lymphangitis; caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis.

South American blastomycosis

par·a·coc·cid·i·oi·do·my·co·sis

(par'ă-kok-sid'ē-oy'dō-mī-kō'sis)
A chronic fungal disease characterized by primary pulmonary lesions with dissemination to many visceral organs, conspicuous ulcerative granulomas of the buccal and nasal mucosa with extensions to the skin, and generalized lymphangitis; caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis.
Synonym(s): Almeida disease, Lutz-Splendore-Almeida disease, paracoccidioidal granuloma, South American blastomycosis.

par·a·coc·cid·i·oi·do·my·co·sis

(par'ă-kok-sid'ē-oy'dō-mī-kō'sis)
Chronic mycosis characterized by primary pulmonary lesions with dissemination to many visceral organs, conspicuous ulcerative granulomas of buccal and nasal mucosa with extensions to skin, and generalized lymphangitis; caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis.

blastomycosis

1. a disseminated or localized infection with Blastomyces spp.
2. infection with any yeastlike organism.

cheloidal blastomycosis
an unsightly but innocuous disease of bottlenosed dolphins and humans. Characterized by the presence of red, hard, smooth cutaneous nodules. Caused by infection with a fungus, Loboa loboi.
cutaneous blastomycosis
the skin form of North American blastomycosis.
disseminated blastomycosis
North American blastomycosis in which lesions are present in most internal parenchymatous organs.
equine blastomycosis
see epizootic lymphangitis.
European blastomycosis
keloidal blastomycosis
see cheloidal blastomycosis (above).
North American blastomycosis
infection by Blastomyces dermatitidis which causes primary granulomatous or pyogranulomatous lesions in the lungs. Secondarily, lesions may occur in the skin, eyes, bone and elsewhere. A disease of dogs, cats and humans. Food animals in the same environment are not reported to be affected. Although the disease was originally recorded in North America and is endemic in some areas of the USA, it is now known to occur in Central and South America.
South American blastomycosis
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