Blastomycosis acquired occupationally during prairie dog relocation--Colorado, 1998.
On August 31, 1998, two suspected cases of fungal pneumonia were reported to the Boulder County (Colorado) Health Department (BCHD). Both patients were immunocompetent, otherwise healthy adults working for the City of Boulder Open Space (CBOS) program on a prairie dog relocation project. This report summarizes the epidemiologic investigation by BCHD, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and CDC; the findings indicate that these two persons acquired blastomycosis in Colorado, which is outside the area where the disease is endemic. (+info)
Targeted gene disruption reveals an adhesin indispensable for pathogenicity of Blastomyces dermatitidis.
Systemic fungal infections are becoming more common and difficult to treat, yet the pathogenesis of these infectious diseases remains poorly understood. In many cases, pathogenicity can be attributed to the ability of the fungi to adhere to target tissues, but the lack of tractable genetic systems has limited progress in understanding and interfering with the offending fungal products. In Blastomyces dermatitidis, the agent of blastomycosis, a respiratory and disseminated mycosis of people and animals worldwide, expression of the putative adhesin encoded by the WI-1 gene was investigated as a possible virulence factor. DNA-mediated gene transfer was used to disrupt the WI-1 locus by allelic replacement, resulting in impaired binding and entry of yeasts into macrophages, loss of adherence to lung tissue, and abolishment of virulence in mice; each of these properties was fully restored after reconstitution of WI-1 by means of gene transfer. These findings establish the pivotal role of WI-1 in adherence and virulence of B. dermatitidis yeasts. To our knowledge, they offer the first example of a genetically proven virulence determinant among systemic dimorphic fungi, and underscore the value of reverse genetics for studies of pathogenesis in these organisms. (+info)
Endemic mycoses: a treatment update.
Endemic mycoses remain a major public health problem in several countries and they are becoming increasingly frequent with the spread of HIV infection. Amphotericin B remains the drug of choice during the acute stage of life-threatening endemic mycoses occurring in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts. Ketoconazole is effective in non-AIDS patients with non-life-threatening histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, or paracoccidioidomycosis. Itraconazole is the treatment of choice for non-life-threatening Histoplasma capsulatum or Blastomyces dermatitidis infections occurring in immunocompetent individuals and is the most efficient secondary prophylaxis of histoplasmosis in AIDS patients. Itraconazole is also effective in lymphocutaneous and visceral sporotrichosis, in paracoccidioidomycosis, for Penicillum marneffei infection, and is an alternative to amphotericin B for Histoplasma duboisii infection. Coccidioidomycosis may be effectively treated with prolonged and sometimes life-long itraconazole or fluconazole therapy. Fluconazole has relatively poor efficacy against histoplasmosis, blastomycosis and sporotrichosis. New antifungal agents have been tested in vitro or in animal models and may soon be evaluated in clinical trials. (+info)
Thoracic blastomycosis and empyema.
Blastomycosis is endemic in river valley areas of the southeastern and Midwestern United States. Pulmonary manifestations include chronic cough and pleuritic pain. Radiographic appearance of the infection can mimic bronchogenic lung carcinoma. Pleural effusion is rarely associated with this pulmonary infection, and empyema has not been previously reported. We report a case of pulmonary and pleural Blastomyces dermatitidis infection presenting as empyema thoracis. Diagnosis and treatment were attained with video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) pleural and lung biopsy and debridement. (+info)
Disseminated blastomycosis in a rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta).
An 8-year-old male rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) died following a 6-day illness consisting of progressive depression, anorexia, labored abdominal breathing, coughing, and tachypnea. Gross necropsy findings included severe multifocal (miliary) granulomatous pneumonia, granulomatous splenitis, and multifocal cerebral abscesses. Histologic examination revealed 10-15-microm broad-based budding organisms within pyogranulomatous inflammatory lesions in the lung, tracheobronchial lymph node, brain, spleen, and liver. The distribution of extrapulmonary lesions was intermediate between that described for dogs and that described for humans. These findings were consistent with blastomycosis, which is previously unreported in nonhuman primates. (+info)
T-Cell epitopes and human leukocyte antigen restriction elements of an immunodominant antigen of Blastomyces dermatitidis.
Humans infected with the dimorphic fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis develop strong T-lymphocyte responses to WI-1, an immunodominant antigen that has been shown to elicit protective immunity in mice. In the present study, the T-cell epitopes of WI-1 and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) restricting elements that display them were investigated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 37 patients with a confirmed history of blastomycosis were tested for a response to WI-1 in primary proliferation assays; PBMC from 35 (95%) responded. Six patients whose PBMC proliferated strongly in response to WI-1 (defined as a stimulation index greater than 50) were tested further for responses to subcloned, recombinant fragments of the antigen. These patients responded chiefly to sequences within the N terminus and the 25-amino-acid tandem repeat. Cloned CD4(+) T cells from an infected individual were used to delineate more precisely the peptide epitopes in the fragments and HLA restricting elements that present them. A majority of the T-cell clones recognized an epitope spanning amino acids 149 to 172 within the N terminus, displayed by HLA-DR 15. A minority of the clones, which have been shown to perform a cytolytic function in vitro, recognized an epitope in the tandem repeat displayed by HLA-DPw4, an uncommon restricting element. Tandem repeat epitopes required display by the beta chain of DPw4 heterodimers. Thus, human T cells with different functions in vitro also recognize distinct regions of WI-1, raising the possibility that HLA restricting elements that present them could modulate immunity during blastomycosis by selection and display of WI-1 peptides. (+info)
Jorge Lobo's disease: experimental inoculation in Swiss mice.
Sixty-four isogenic Swiss mice were intradermically inoculated in both hind foot pads. The inocula, consisting of fungal suspensions from biopsies obtained from Jorge Lobo's Disease patients, had the total number of fungi and the viability index determined using a Neubauer chamber and the fluorescein diacetate-ethidium bromide technique (FD-EB), respectively. The animals were sacrificed at times ranging from ten days to eighteen months after inoculation. The cellular infiltrate, mainly consisting of macrophages containing fungi, increased progressively up to end of the study; however, no macroscopic alterations were observed in the inoculated feet. After nine months, small numbers of Langhans' giant cells started to appear in the infiltrate. A considerable number of fungi was observed at the end of the experimental period, but only a few were viable when stained by the FD-EB technique. This fact suggests that there is a multiplication of fungal cells, which are destroyed by the macrophages but remain in the tissue for a long time due perhaps to the difficulties in their elimination. These findings led us to conclude that in spite of the maintenance of the infection in these animals, Swiss mice cannot be considered an ideal model to study Jorge Lobo's Disease. However, the authors call attention to the possibility of other mouse strains being more susceptible to Paracoccidioides loboi. (+info)
Molecular epidemiology of Blastomyces dermatitidis.
The inhalation of conidia of Blastomyces dermatitidis, a fungus found in soil, causes disease in humans and animals. We studied the genetic diversity of this pathogen by extracting DNA yeasts and analyzing them with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based typing system we developed, which used restriction fragment analysis of amplicons from the regions between the rDNA repeats and allowed us to class isolates into 3 major groups. Strains were further differentiated by use of PCR fingerprinting with 3 different primers. Fifty-nine isolates collected over 35 years from 15 regions (United States, India, Africa, Canada) were analyzed. Genotypic groups A, B, and C contained 17, 23, and 19 isolates, which were divided into 5, 15, and 12 types, respectively. All 16 isolates from North America in group A were from the upper midwestern United States or Canada, whereas 0 of 20 isolates from the southeastern United States were in group A. Studies of the largest collection from 1 locale (Eagle River, WI), revealed that the soil isolates studied were not responsible for the majority of cases in this outbreak, as previously proposed, and that >1 strain was present in the environment and in patients. Overall, these results provide a tool for the epidemiological study of blastomycosis and illuminate the genetic and geographic diversity of this important pathogen. (+info)