Academic Forensic Pathology

The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners

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Title: Blastomycosis in Wisconsin: Beyond the Outbreaks
Author(s): Thompson KatrinaSterkel Alana K.Brooks Erin G.
Citation: Acad Forensic Pathol. 2017 Mar; 7(1):119-129.
Type: Original Article
Keywords: Forensic pathology, Blastomycosis, Blastomyces, Wisconsin, Outbreak
Abstract: In the summer of 2015, many individuals visiting the Little Wolf River in Waupaca County were exposed to the pathogenic fungus, Blastomyces. Over time, 59 confirmed and 39 probable cases were reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (W-DHS), making this one of the largest outbreaks in recent state history. Though most instances of blastomycosis are not associated with common source outbreaks, cases such as this highlight the need for vigilance regarding this preventable cause of death. In the state of Wisconsin, an average of 118.6 cases (range, 84–174) of confirmed blastomycosis are diagnosed annually; the majority of these cases are sporadic rather than outbreak-associated. In the current study, we review characteristics of blastomycosis cases diagnosed at our academic medical center, as well as examine statewide W-DHS data, in order to familiarize pathologists with the epidemiologic and histologic characteristics of this disease.
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