March 20, 1967

Laboratory-Acquired North American Blastomycosis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medical microbiology and medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta. Dr. Di Salvo is now at the Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1967;199(12):935-936. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120120123030

LABORATORY-ACQUIRED infections with Blastomyces dermatitidis, including infections acquired by persons performing autopsies on patients who died of blastomycosis, have been reported rarely. Of the five cases described in the literature, three resulted from inoculation of fingers with the parasitic form of the fungus during autopsy. The three cases demonstrate the danger of this type of exposure.1-3 The other two cases involved a pathologist who infected himself in the wrist from a culture of B dermatitidis of unspecified morphological form and a graduate student who inoculated his finger with a culture of the parasitic form of this organism.3,4 This report describes the first infection presumed to have been acquired in the laboratory from inhalation of conidia from the saprophytic form of the fungus and establishes the danger from this source.

Report of a Case  On Sept 13, 1963, a 30-year-old Negro woman began working as a laboratory assistant in