In early 2022, blastomycosis infections were identified in people and dogs in an area adjacent to the Willow River near Boardman, Wisconsin. St. Croix County Public Health began working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate these cases. The investigation ended in late 2022. Although this investigation has closed, outreach and education about blastomycosis is ongoing.
Read the information below to learn more about Blastomycosis. If you have questions or concerns, please call St. Croix County Public Health at 715-246-8263.
What is Blastomycosis?
Blastomycosis is a rare but potentially serious fungal infection that can affect humans and animals. The fungi that cause Blastomycosis is common across Wisconsin and can be found in moist soils, especially along waterways. Illness can occur 3 to 15 weeks after breathing in the fungal spores. Blastomycosis cannot be passed from person to person, person to pet, pet to pet, or pet to person.
Anyone can get Blastomycosis, but severe or fatal infections are more common in people who smoke or vape, have a history of lung disease, or with weakened immune systems. Severe infections can usually be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment with antifungal medications.
Learn more about Blastomycosis with these resources:
- Blastomycosis Information from the CDC
- Blastomycosis Information from Wisconsin DHS
- Blastomycosis and Humans Fact Sheet (DHS)
- Blastomycosis and Pets Fact Sheet (DHS)
- Blastomycosis: Employers and Workers Fact Sheet (DHS)
What are the symptoms?
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact a healthcare provider. Let them know if you have been to an area where Blastomycosis is common. There is no vaccine to prevent Blastomycosis. There are diagnostic tests and treatments available for both humans and pets. Local healthcare facilities and veterinary clinics have been notified of the presence of Blastomycosis in the area mentioned above.
Symptoms in Humans
- Fever or Chills
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest or Back Pain
- Feeling Very Tired
- Skin Sores
Symptoms in Pets
- Skin Sores (especially on the face or paws)
- Coughing or Wheezing
- Shortness of Breath
- Unexplained Limping
- Difficulty Seeing
- Loss of Appetite or Weight Loss
- I go to the Willow River near Boardman frequently; do I need to get tested?
- Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of infection?
- Can I test the soil at my home?
- How is Blastomycosis treated?
- How many cases have been detected?
- How did Public Health respond during the blastomycosis investigation?