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Papers of the Week

2020 May 29

Med Mycol

Central nervous system blastomycosis clinical characteristics and outcomes.


Majdick K, Kaye K, Shorman MA
Med Mycol. 2020 May 29.
PMID: 32470976.


Blastomycosis is a local or systemic infection, caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis (B. dermatitidis) or B. gilchristii. Blastomycosis has been described as "the great pretender," alluding to the fact that it manifests in a wide range of symptoms and disease severity. Central nervous system (CNS) involvement, although rare, carries significant mortality. Due to the limited published reports of CNS blastomycosis, we present an updated cohort with eight cases of proven or probable CNS blastomycosis describing presentation, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. Headache was the most common presenting symptom. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) proved to be the superior imaging study. All patients in our cohort were diagnosed by histopathological staining or cultures of tissue or fluid obtained from CNS or extra-CNS lesions. All patients that received treatment with Liposomal amphrotericin B for at least 10 days followed by a prolonged azole therapy did not have relapse. Two patients with late diagnoses died during hospitalization. Our findings confirm the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment of CNS blastomycosis to improve outcomes especially with an azole that have a high CNS penetration and a good intrinsic activity for B. dermatitidis such as voriconazole.