Locality: St. Louis, MO
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: Yes
Where Caught: My dad and brother went on a camping trip in Northern Minnesota in June 2007. He lived throughout the summer without symptoms of the disease. This is were we believe he caught Blastomycosis.
Symptoms: A month or two after visiting Minnesota he lost nearly 20 lbs for no reason. He began to have pains in his chest but thought nothing serious of it. In early August he became very ill with flu like symptoms. After a few days he got increasingly worse.
Treatment: After visiting a doctor it was determined that he had pneumonia so he was started on medicine for BACTERIAL pneumonia seeing as that this fungal form is very rare especially for people like us who like in the midwest. After he continued to worsen he went to the ER and was admitted. The doctors were baffled and could not understand why the medicine was not improving his condition. Biopsys were done of his lungs but test results did not show any signs of fungal pneumonia. Treatments continued for 9 days before doctors decided to treat for fungal pneumonia. On the 11th day in the hospital (3rd day in the ICU) my dad was put on a respirator. He died later that day. He had just turned 49 years old.
Cost of Treatment: Without any help from our insurance costs would have been around $75,000.
Additional Comments: It's hard for many to understand how frustrating it is when doctors have no idea what it is they're working with. We did not know that my dad had fungal pneumonia (blastomycosis) until 3 days after he died. Cultures taken from the 3rd day in the hospital had finally started to grow and test positive. He died on my little brother's 12th birthday. It has been over a year since his death but it is still hard to grasp the fact that he is gone and that nothing could have been done to save his life.