Author Topic: Grand Rapids, MN woman recovering from blastomycosis in her brain  (Read 5777 times)

Offline Lisa

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Grand Rapids woman recovering from severe blastomycosis (video)

According to a report in the Northland’s NewsCenter, a Grand Rapids, MN woman is recovering from a severe blastomycosis infection that attacked her brain.

It all started in December when 26-year-old Jennifer McNellis was hospitalized for what doctors thought was simply pneumonia. However, as the antibiotics didn’t improve her illness and her condition worsened, she was airlifted to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

Here she was seen by Infectious Disease expert Dr. Timothy Burke who diagnosed her with the fungal infection, Blastomycosis.

Dr. Burke suspects Jennifer’s immune system may have been compromised when she got infected. She had a difficult pregnancy and delivered her premature baby, Levi.

Burke, who says he sees a dozen cases of blastomycosis annually, however Jennifer’s case was more complicated as the fungus had attacked her brain and she had to be put into a medically-induced coma.

Knocking on death’s door a little over a month ago, she is now in the process of recovery.

Blastomycosis is caused by the dimorphic fungi, Blastomyces dermatitidis. It is endemic in the southeastern and Midwestern United States and is classically associated with the Ohio and Mississippi river valley region.

People typically get infected with this fungus via the lungs through inhalation. Infection can mimic bacterial pneumonia and chronic infection is often confused with tuberculosis.

The fungus can also disseminate through the bloodstream infecting the skin causing lesions on the face and extremities. To a lesser extent, the bone, the prostate and the epididymis can become infected.

Untreated disseminated or chronic pulmonary disease can progress to death.

Blastomycosis can be diagnosed through laboratory testing to include microscopic exam, culture and molecular methods. Itraconazole is the drug of choice for treatment of blastomycosis.

Offline jefndebbacon

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Re: Grand Rapids, MN woman recovering from blastomycosis in her brain
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 09:19:37 PM »
Thanks for keeping us updated Lisa!

Offline angela_sabbatini

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Re: Grand Rapids, MN woman recovering from blastomycosis in her brain
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 06:08:25 AM »
Thank you for this post. I meet Jen and her husband at a medical conference at St. Mary's hospital. My boyfriend suffered from a severe case of Blastomycosis the same year. They both were considered the Miracles of the year by the critical care team. We were a bit rushed through the conference that day, as we were the stage of the room being asked many questions on our whole entire experience. We then were able to sit down and have lunch with each other and get to know one another. We had a brief conversation and then we were separated when we went to visit the icu.She was in a different icu then my husband and we never seen her and her husband again. I felt so awful because for the life of me I could not remember their names. Now I know and can maybe send them a card and maybe get to talk with them again. I pray all the time that her recovery is going well, ours have been slow, taking over 2 years, but will always feel blessed and grateful to all the staff involved. Miracles DO happen!! Thank you and Take Care!!