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As temps rise the concerns for blastomycosis increases

WAUSAU (WAOW)- As the weather heats up, concerns are growing over a silent infection lurking in our area.

It’s called blastomycosis, also known as “blasto.”

It’s a lung infection found primarily in moist soil.

“When we have everyone going out and the weather is nice we are getting into our yard planting flowers and doing landscaping,” said Sarah Schroeder a Respiratory Therapist at Aspirus.

You can get infected by breathing in the blastomycosis fungus.

Medical experts said 50 out of 100,000 people in central Wisconsin will get it.

“That wet damp soil with any decomposing elements with wood in that area,” Schroeder said.

Most commonly, it appears to look like pneumonia and symptoms take two to 15 weeks to show.

With the recent river draw down in Marathon County, Schroeder said now is a prime time to breathe it in.

“We really can’t prevent it it’s out there we don’t want to hold ourselves back from any activities,” she said.

However, if left undiagnosed, it can turn deadly.

Schroeder she has seen 10 cases of it during her career, in one case a young child died.

Dogs aren’t safe from the fungal infection either.

“It can affect their lungs most commonly but it will also cause problems with draining skin sores they get very very ill from it,” said Dr. Elizabeth Arnold owner of Marathon Animal Hospital.

Just like with humans, the sooner you diagnose it the better.

“We use urine sample for confirmation it depends on what kinds of signs they are having,” Dr. Arnold said. “The coughing dogs will get x-rays and dogs with sores we will see under a microscope to see if they have blasto spores.”

Dr. Arnold recommends bringing your dog in as soon as you notice anything unusual.

If you want to take precautions they suggest using a mask when stepping out to the garden or the water.


Victoria Saha

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