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Molecular Epidemiology of Blastomyces dermatitidis

Michael J. McCullough, Arthur F. DiSalvo, Karl V. Clemons, Pilsang Park and David A. Stevens
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Feb., 2000), pp. 328-335
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4482193
Page Count: 8
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Molecular Epidemiology of Blastomyces dermatitidis
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Abstract

The inhalation of conidia of Blastomyces dermatitidis, a fungus found in soil, causes disease in humans and animals. We studied the genetic diversity of this pathogen by extracting DNA yeasts and analyzing them with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based typing system we developed, which used restriction fragment analysis of amplicons from the regions between the rDNA repeats and allowed us to class isolates into 3 major groups. Strains were further differentiated by use of PCR fingerprinting with 3 different primers. Fifty-nine isolates collected over 35 years from 15 regions (United States, India, Africa, Canada) were analyzed. Genotypic groups A, B, and C contained 17, 23, and 19 isolates, which were divided into 5, 15, and 12 types, respectively. All 16 isolates from North America in group A were from the upper midwestern United States or Canada, whereas 0 of 20 isolates from the southeastern United States were in group A. Studies of the largest collection from 1 locale (Eagle River, WI), revealed that the soil isolates studied were not responsible for the majority of cases in this outbreak, as previously proposed, and that >1 strain was present in the environment and in patients. Overall, these results provide a tool for the epidemiological study of blastomycosis and illuminate the genetic and geographic diversity of this important pathogen.

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