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What is blastomycosis lung fungus?

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The fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis causes blastomycosis, a disease that leads to lung infections, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fungus lives in soil and decayed matter such as wood and leaves, and while many people do not get sick after inhaling the fungus, others contract serious infections that may spread to other organs.

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The Blastomyces dermatitidis fungus is most common in the Southeast and Midwest in the United States, and people such as farmers, hunters and campers in those areas are as higher risk of contracting blastomycosis after inhaling the fungus, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While about half of people display no symptoms of blastomycosis, in others the symptoms can be severe, and the infection can spread to other parts of the body such as the bones and the skin. Fever, chills, cough, muscle aches and joint pain, which generally appear between three and 15 weeks after exposure, are some of the symptoms of blastomycosis.

While there is no vaccine for blastomycosis, as of 2015, and it is difficult to completely avoid the fungus that causes the disease, people such as those with weakened immune systems should avoid wooded areas where the fungus thrives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blastomycosis is not contagious from person to person or from animals to people.

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