Protecting our community

Important Information about Blastomycosis

Blastomycosis Field of Interest Fund

Blastomycosis is a genuine concern in our region. While this may be more of a threat to our dogs and other pets, it is also very dangerous, and can be deadly, for humans if not detected and treated early enough. The best way to combat Blastomycosis in our community is to:

  • Become well-informed
  • Share information with others
  • Support efforts to make the medical community and public better educated about this disease
  • Support research

The Les Cheneaux Community Foundation has established a fund specifically to help accomplish this.

If you are interested in donating to the Blastomycosis Field of Interest Fund, please make your check out to LCCF and earmark/memo it for “blastomycosis”. Donations can be mailed to:

Les Cheneaux Community Foundation
P.O. Box 249
Cedarville, MI 49719 

What Is Blastomycosis?

Les Cheneaux Scholarship Funds

Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that can lead to serious and sometimes fatal disease. Dogs and humans are most commonly at risk, although other animals are also susceptible. The fungus grows in soils, especially soils that are very moist with a high organic content and an acid pH. Under certain conditions the fungus forms spores that can be inhaled, especially when the soil in which it is growing is disturbed. Once the lungs are infected, the fungus can affect other parts of the body, including the eyes, skin, genitourinary tract, bones, and joints. Blastomycosis causes a variety of symptoms and can lead to serious illness and death.

Where is Blastomycosis Found?

Blastomycosis has been identified in various regions of the U.S. and Canada, especially Michigan, Wisconsin, the Ohio River Valley, Southeastern USA, and Canada’s Georgian Bay. Certain areas of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are regarded as high-incidence “hot spots.” Residents and visitors of these areas should become well informed about this threat.

To date, blastomycosis is an under-reported disease, and still not enough is understood about it. Blastomycosis is a reportable disease for humans but not for animals in Michigan.Therefore, increased knowledge, reporting, collaborative efforts, and support of research are critical to combat this problem.

Is Blastomycosis Contagious?

Current research indicates that blastomycosis is not contagious, with the very rare exception being an infected skin lesion making direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes.

Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

In its early stages blastomycosis can present as a variety of symptoms, which can vary from humans to dogs. You might see:

Canines: Most commonly infected, but not restricted to, are younger, sporting dogs.

  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Eye Discharge
  • Eye Inflammation, especially the iris
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Skin Lesions
  • Limping or Lameness with no apparent cause

Humans:

  • Flu-like symptoms

In humans about half of blastomycosis infections do not result in symptoms or illness.

Some at these symptoms are commonly seen in other illnesses, and diagnosis as blastomycosis is often missed. Effective treatment of blastomycosis depends on an early diagnosis.

When to Contact a Veterinarian or Physician

If you suspect blastomycosis, consult your veterinarian or physician and mention your concerns to determine if testing is appropriate. Current clinical blastomycosis tests are not always accurate, so follow-up evaluation should be discussed. If your health care provider is not familiar with blastomycosis, ask that they consult with someone who is. You may have to be insistent that the clinician run blastomycosis tests.

Help and Treatment

There are just a few medications that are currently used to treat blastomycosis. They include Variconizole, Itraconazole (Sporanox), or other “azole” drugs, Amphotericin B, and other similar drugs. Effective treatment relies on early diagnosis and intervention by your vet or physician.

Prevention

Currently there is no vaccine available to prevent blastomycosis, so we support research efforts to help find one. The best ways to limit possible exposures are:

  • Learning what the areas and conditions may be likely to harbor the fungus
  • Avoid digging in or disturbing high risk soils
  • Avoid rotting wood

If digging or excavation in affected areas must be done, wearing a surgical mask may be advisable, and keeping dogs, cats, or people with compromised immune systems away from this area is highly suggested.

Soil Testing

Soil testing can be accomplished in research facilities but consumer tests are presently unavailable.

Spread the Word

View, download and/or print the LCCF Blastomycosis Brochure and share with your family and friends.

More Resources

Below you will find helpful links for blastomycosis symptoms and treatment in dogs and humans, as well as other resources for blastomycosis information.

Dogs:

PetMD.com

The St Ignace News and Les Cheneaux Islands Weekly Wave article May 29, 2008​

Humans and Dogs:

Merck Manual: merckmanuals.com/home/infections/fungal-infections/blastomycosis

Emedicine: emedicinehealth.com/blastomycosis

Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/blastomycosis

Listing, by city (MI) of physicians who treat human blastomycosis infection: lifescript.com/blastomycosis-mi

Additionally, consultation with the following providers and/or researchers is recommended:

Dennis J Baumgardner, M.D. (414) 219-5191 (focus is on environmental sources of the fungus)

Clinton Groover, D.V.M. (906) 647-6512 groover@msu.edu

Carol A. Kauffman, M.D. ckauff@umich.edu

Daniel K. Langlois, D.V.M. (517) 353-5420 langlo21@cvm.msu.edu

Dr. L. Joe Wheat, MiraVista Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN., jwheat@miravistalabs.com

Dr. Alfred Legendre, (865) 974-8387, alegedr@utk.edu

MiraVista Diagnostics website: www.miravistalabs.com

uged INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

Les Cheneaux Community Foundation Scholarship Funds

Scholarship Funds Held by The Les Cheneaux Community Foundation: 

Josh Goodell Memorial Scholarship

Josh Goodell was a 2019 graduate of Cedarville High School. He realized his goal of playing both basketball and football all four years of high school. His family wishes to honor Josh's memory by awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a student who shares Josh's love for athletics.

George H. Nickels and Les & Jackie Stiner Memorial Endowment Scholarship Fund

The sole purpose of this fund shall be to provide a scholarship to a student attending the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville Michigan.

The selection of the student(s) for this special scholarship award will be made by the Scholarship Committee of the Great Lakes Boat Building School, as appointed by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Graduates who received a George H. Nickels Scholarship shall be recognized as such at graduation and called George H. Nickels Scholars.

Bonnie Mikkelsen Endowed Scholarship Fund

The sole purpose of the Fund shall be to provide financial assistance for students attending the Great Lakes Boat Building School who have met the financial need criteria as established by the Board of the Great Lakes Boat Building School.

Frank (Duke) Harding Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund

The purpose of the fund is to provide an annual scholarship to a student attending the Great Lakes Boat Building School.

Les Cheneaux Arts Council Fund

The purpose of the fund is to provide annual support to art programs, classes & scholarships in the Les Cheneaux Community.

Les Cheneaux General Scholarship Fund

The primary purpose of the fund assets shall be to provide financial assistance for students who are attending a post-secondary school and are graduates of the Les Cheneaux Community Schools.

Les Cheneaux Lions Club General Scholarship Fund

The primary purpose shall be to provide FIRST YEAR financial assistance for students who are pursuing a post-secondary education and are graduates of the Les Cheneaux Community Schools.

Thomas (Tommy) Nelson Mertaugh Scholarship Fund

The sole purpose shall be to provide a scholarship to a student attending the Great Lakes Boat Building School and who meets the criteria established by the Great Lakes Boat Building School for financial aid.

Tricia (St Onge) Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund

Tricia (St Onge) Smith attended Les Cheneaux Community Schools and graduated in 1997. Not only was she a wonderful student but she was also passionate about sports. Tricia earned many awards in basketball, volleyball, and track. She later attended Central Michigan University and became an incredible teacher. This fund was set up to help others who share Tricia's passion for education and sports. This fund will award $500 to a recipient each year.

Trip Abnee Memorial Water Safety Fund

This fund was created by Trip Abnee's wife and daughters to honor Trip's love of boating and insistence on safety. He taught many kids how to drive a boat and made it possible for them to get their boating licenses. He had two rules: "Do what the captain says, when the captain says it" and "Have fun". Coming into the dock he would say, "Fingers and paws inside the boat" and after docking he would say, "Any landing you walk away from is a good one, every time without fail". This fund is used to provide life vests to area youth who complete the Water Safety Course offered free of charge each summer.

The Williams Family of Coryell Island Scholarship Fund

This $1000 scholarship was instituted in 2001 by the Williams Family who has had a long time presence on Coryell Island. The purpose is to provide financial assistance for continuing education or vocational training to graduates of the Les Cheneaux Community Schools based on their financial need, academic performance, and participation in extracurricular activities and community service.

Geraldine (Gerry) Naybeck Memorial Scholarship

The primary purpose is to support programs and projects that provide education and /or early detection of cancer: equipment, programs, or services to assist individuals diagnosed with cancer or other terminal illnesses. Also supported are programs and support services for families or scholarships for students studying nursing or a related health field.

Tassier-Nye Scholarship

The primary purpose of the fund shall be to provide financial assistance for students who have attended a school in the Les Cheneaux area.

Rae Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund

Rae Taylor was an avid builder and lover of boats. This endowed scholarship fund was created by Rae Taylor's wife Dianne in his memory. The sole purpose of the fund shall be to provide an annual scholarship for a Great Lakes Boat Building School student who has a love of boat building & repair, or mechanical maintenance of boat engines & systems, and who demonstrates a financial need.

William T. and Ann Collins Charitable Fund NEW SCHOLARSHIP AWARD 

Applications are being taken through June 30, 2022 for a $5,000 scholarship awarded to a graduate of Cedarville High School who is currently pursuing a career in the healthcare field. Contact our office for application. (906)484-2484 or lccommunityfoundation@gmail.com.

 

William (Billy) Ryan Scholarship Fund

The sole purpose shall be to provide an annual $500 scholarship to a Cedarville High School graduate who intends to continue his/her education at an institute of higher learning, either university, college, or vocational/technical school.

Earl Law-Perry White VFW Post 7958 Scholarship Fund

The sole purpose of the fund is to provide $1000 or $1500 scholarship to a high school graduate from both Les Cheneaux Community Schools and Pickford Community School who intends to continue his/her education at an institute of higher learning. The graduating senior is required to be a veteran or related to a veteran. If related to a veteran who is a member of the Earl Law-Perry White VFW Post 7958, the scholarship shall be $1500 instead of $1000.

Archie and Ruth Visnaw Endowment Memorial Scholarship

Archie Visnaw grew up in Cedarville and was one of Cedarville's great ambassadors. Archie was the area postmaster for more than 30 years.

He was also an avid boat and snowmobile racer. Most importantly, Archie was a friend to everyone he met. Ruth came to Cedarville as a Home Economics teacher. She taught over 25 years in the Cedarville School system and was a highly respected teacher. The Archie and Ruth Visnaw Memorial Endowment Scholarship is a $500 scholarship given to a student who has attended Cedarville High School wishing to extend their post high school educational opportunities.