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      Deadly Fungal Infection from BWCA     
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08/09/2018 08:44PM
A Pastor from my church is on life support from contracting a fungal infection from a tree in the BWCA.

WCCO report

I've never heard of this before.

Scary.
 
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Mocha
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08/09/2018 08:55PM
well, that is awful news! i wish they would have listed the disease so people could research it. i know there is something called blasto..... that dogs get but humans can also contract. it's a fungus thing i believe found on decaying trees.
4keys
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08/09/2018 09:00PM
Scary indeed. I hope he recovers soon.

The article seems incomplete to me. What tree can you get an infection from, and how do you contract it? I'd like to know what to look for. My husband is a forester and doesn't remember hearing about anything like that. Might be a good research project for him while watching tv.
thebotanyguy
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08/09/2018 09:39PM
One of the likely diseases may be Blastomycosis

08/09/2018 09:41PM
Right? I'm anxious to find out.

I have a BWCA trip planned this fall....

and I live on a 20 acre heavily wooded forest...
(Believe me, I'm not complaining)

It'd be good to know tho.
old_salt
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08/09/2018 10:57PM
According to KTTC in Rochester, he is expected to make a full recovery, though it will be a long and difficult recovery. There is a gofundme page for medical expenses. Blastomycosis is the diagnosis.
mooseplums
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08/09/2018 11:26PM
A friend of mine was cutting trees on a farm in Southern MN. The tree was hollow and decaying inside. He and a couple of friends all became seriously ill with a lung disease called Histoplasmosis. It is caused by bacteria from bat or mouse droppings. My friend nearly died.
Perhaps this is the same thing or similar.
08/10/2018 06:28AM
For the average person going to the bwca there are very,very,very low risks of these type of infections. If one was immunocompromised the risks would be higher.

Rare bad things do happen, but this would not deter me in the least.
PuffinGin
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08/10/2018 07:32AM
This information from the Wisconsin Dept of Public Health contains some good general information about blastomycosis. The fungi is very common along the upper Wisconsin River. Dogs and people susceptible but most of the time exposure is mild (slight respiratory symptoms). Following initial exposure, most hosts can develop immunity to further blasto exposures. However, in some cases (as in an immunocompromised host), the infection becomes disseminated throughout the organs and is much more dangerous. Very difficult to treat. My brother-in-law from Eagle River on the WI R lost a dog from blasto a dozen years ago. Blastomycosis in Wisconsin
PuffinGin
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08/10/2018 07:48AM
This is information put out by MN Dept of Health. General info is, of course, same as for WI Public Health. Those one provides distribution of blasto in MN, tho. Blasto in MN
08/10/2018 07:58AM
Best wishes to him for a full recovery.
cowdoc
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08/10/2018 08:04AM
Yes....best wishes to a full recovery. I wonder if he has any history of being immunocompromised.
The systemic fungal diseases are all around. Four big ones are blasto, histo, cryptococcus and coccidioides. Blasto is endemic to Mississippi River Valley and Upper Great Lakes area.......yes, its been around many of you your whole life. Coccidioides likes the arid southwest.....more of a desert dust disease.
We see a few dogs every year with blasto. My sister in law lived in Arizona and her dog died from Coccidioides. Dogs are more common victims because their nose is always near the ground inhaling their surroundings.
ozarkpaddler
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08/10/2018 10:18AM
drnatus: "For the average person going to the bwca there are very,very,very low risks of these type of infections. If one was immunocompromised the risks would be higher.
Rare bad things do happen, but this would not deter me in the least. "


Those whom are immunocompromised are the only ones I'd worry about being at risk normally. Myself, I have had lymphoma, have no spleen, yet have never contracted an illness from being outdoors. The BARN, well, that's a different story. But, irregardless, he is in my prayers and I hope his recovery is quicker than expected!
Portage99
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08/10/2018 10:28AM
There’s nothing you can really do about contracting a fungal infection. Most of us would go to the doctor with typical symptoms (even if we had no clue what it was). Just one of the small risks associated with loving the outdoors. Carpe diem, right???
andym
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08/10/2018 10:41AM
Thanks all for the info. I’ll keep this in mind as I am immunosuppressed due to drugs that keep my new immune system, from a bone marrow transplant for my lymphoma, from attacking various bits of me. I was even taking this drugs in the BW this July. Fortunately, I’m now on a low dose and didn’t camp on higher doses over the last couple of years.

I should eventually get off those drugs, maybe by next summer, but people who have had organ transplants are on them for life and many people who have gone through chemo are also immunosuppressed for some period of time. This won’t stop me from going camping but I might be cautious around rotting trees.

I do hope he makes a full and quick recovery.
DrBobDerrig
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08/10/2018 10:50AM
Blasto on little wold river in Wi

This made the news a few years ago....there is always something out there trying to get you.....

dr bob
analyzer
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08/10/2018 05:42PM
"Blastomycosis is caused by the dimorphic microfungus Blastomyces dermatitidis, a member of the phylum Ascomycota in the family Ajellomycetaceae. It has been recognised as the asexual state of Ajellomyces dermatitidis."



Well, that clears it up for me.
emptynest56
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08/11/2018 08:55AM
The hospital I worked at got patients from different parts of the state with blasto. A full blown infection was always a tough thing to treat and sometimes the infection could go chronic. I have also found out that bog/wet ground/swamp soils can be risky when they are dried out and blasto spores go airborne. The neighbor's dogs all got sick and died from it after his cabin spot was excavated. I wear masks when digging in that dirt.

One of my big pet peeves about the media is that they are too lazy find out what the actual causative organism is in these cases, and how much risk there is to the general public. Then they always write like this is a new and undiscovered disease that we should also be worried about because they just don't do their due diligence that these articles require.
cowdoc
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08/11/2018 11:19AM
We just diagnosed a dog with it this week. Owner takes it for walks in a new recreational area along the river where they are are rooting out some trees and making new paths.
DrBobDerrig
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08/11/2018 08:22PM
sometimes having the sniffer so close to the ground is a way bad thing.... hope the meds help the guy out....

dr bob
newguy
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08/13/2018 07:36AM
Assuming the man didn't have a compromised immune system, how would he contract something like this, and how would we avoid something like this? For example, someone said it can be transmitted through spores in dry wood -- would it have been from collecting firewood?
riverrunner
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08/13/2018 07:50AM
. Blastomycosis

I have known several people in the Hayward Wis. area that has contracted Blasto one of them died also several dogs.

I am more likely to get it here then the BWCA.

Nasty stuff for sure.
01/27/2019 05:47PM
Unfortunately, after a double lung transplant, he did not survive.

He passed away last week.
andym
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01/27/2019 07:10PM
That’s very sad. My thoughts go out to everyone who cared for him.
Savage Voyageur
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01/27/2019 08:36PM
Sorry to hear this. I saw the story on the news, he sounded like a fine young man.
old_salt
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01/28/2019 08:18AM
I’m very sorry for your loss. This is awful news.
01/28/2019 08:37AM
Rough one for sure.
mastertangler
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01/28/2019 08:59AM
Geez, who knew? I had never even heard of such a thing. One thing is for certain, no one is promised tomorrow.
Cretbo
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01/28/2019 09:23AM
MN_Lindsey: "Unfortunately, after a double lung transplant, he did not survive.


He passed away last week."


Sorry to hear!! Prayers for his family

Bob
mjmkjun
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01/28/2019 05:42PM
the next time I consider hacking/sawing on an old, hollow deadfall I'll remember this post.
RIP, Carson.
VoyageurNorth
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01/29/2019 07:17PM
The company that does our Moose Lake tows (Willy Vosburgh) had a sweet English bulldog named Donna who got blasto. Her symptoms were not extreme at first, so by the time he knew she was sick, it was too late into the disease & she died within a short time.

Moose Lake, unfortunately, is sort of known for the blasto that has affected many dogs in the last 10-15 years.

We also have some good friends who have a cabin near the same area and came up last November with their small dog. Their dog also contacted blasto and passed a few weeks ago.

I'd like to know if there is something that can be done in that area to stop the spread, even if only a little. I feel so bad for these people I know well, who have lost their dogs.

mjmkjun
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02/01/2019 09:53AM
As stated in previous posts, the cause is breathing in fungus spores that are normally found in the soil but are disturbed and become airborne. Frequent means of scattering spores is when the soil has been disturbed by fallen trees and areas that are normally wet and boggy but dry up could potentially be an area to watch out for. Wind plays its part.
Outdoor enthusiast and loggers are those most likely to be infected.
scary stuff. Very successfully treated if detected early but how does one get alerted at a very early stage of infection?
So.......put a hankie over your mouth and nose if you dig a cathole or bury leftovers.
 
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