A mother of a child has died from a rare fungus that is rapidly spreading across the US.
Sonya Cruz, 31, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died July 5 of blastomycosis ? a disease caused by the fungus blastomyces, which is found primarily in soil in wooded areas.
The rarity of the condition ? with only one or two cases per 100,000 residents per year in some states ? meant she died after doctors failed to recognize the infection and misdiagnosed it as pneumonia.
Her family is now trying to raise awareness of the infection, which can lead to fatalities 78 percent of patientshoping others don’t have to go through their heartbreak.
That is what Mrs. Cruz’s husband, John Cruz, told us Fox 6: ‘My life. They have taken my life. I’m not saying the hospital or anyone. Whatever this is, I brought my wife.?
The fungus is the same one that infected more than 100 workers at a Michigan paper mill in the spring.
Sonya Cruz with her husband John Cruz on their wedding day
Mrs. Cruz (second from right) died of blastomycosis on July 5
Deaths from blastomycosis infections are on the rise, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
In 2021, it reported 82 cases of the infection. Most years, nine percent of people with blastomycosis die from the infection, but in 2021, 23 percent of patients died.
According to Morgan Hughes, Mrs. Cruz’s sister, a telecom company is digging into Mrs. Cruz’s house to lay an underground cable.
Ms Hughes said the Wisconsin Department of Health has opened an investigation into her sister’s death.
On June 16, Ms. Cruz went to the emergency room at St. Katherine’s Hospital in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she complained of breathing difficulties.
Doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia and sent her home on antibiotics.
A week and a half later it had not improved and she went to her GP.
She was admitted to St. Katherine’s where staff gave her more antibiotics and fluids. Two days later she developed respiratory failure.
Mrs. Cruz was placed on a ventilator and sedated. She was given medication to keep her heart going because her blood pressure was slowly dropping.
Doctors did a bronchoscopy and biopsy of her lungs, which came back positive for blastomycosis.
Surveillance conducted in 2021 showed the fungal infection hotspots in the US
Mr. Cruz had never heard of the disease until his wife contracted it.
He said, ‘I can walk out here and swallow a bullet, not literally a bullet, but a bullet of that.
“I think this is something that should be shared around the world.”
Blastomyces tend to dwell in moist soil, rotting wood and leaves. If the soil is disturbed, the spores can be thrown into the air.
If the spores are inhaled, they can travel to the lungs and cause a yeast infection.
Symptoms include cough, fever, chills, muscle pain, joint pain, and chest pain.
It is not spread from person to person, but it can spread within a person to other parts of the body, such as the skin or bones.
The fungus can be fatal if not caught early.
Ms. Cruz was given antifungal treatment, but she sadly passed away after being in the hospital for just over a week.
The family put one GoFundMe for Mrs. Cruz, who said, ?We have lost a ray of sunshine in this world. “TeTe” “SoSo” meant the world to so many around her.
?She was and is surrounded by love with family, friends, her children and wonderful husband, John.
“Myself, John and the family are asking if you can contribute to this fund so we can celebrate her life the way we feel she deserves.”
Dr. Bruce Klein, of the University of Wisconsin Medical School, has studied the infection for nearly 40 years.
He said reported cases in Wisconsin are uncommon and the infection is underreported.
“That’s probably only a fraction of the actual occurrence of infection, because we know that at least half of cases can have mild or asymptomatic disease,” Dr Klein said.
However, the Wisconsin Department of Health said it has the highest rate of blastomycosis in the US.
Between 2011 and 2020, the department reported 1,412 cases ? an average of 116 per year.
About 61 percent of those patients were hospitalized, while 124 died, giving a mortality rate of 11 percent.