Unbeknownst to Many, Fungal Infections Take the Lives of Young Women More Frequently Than Perceived

A young wife from Wisconsin perished after getting an infection from a forest fungus.

Her death underscores a public, unknown life threat throughout the United States. Its cases are rare, but actually more common than an uninformed observer might have imagined.

Lethal Fungus Infection

31-year-old Sonya Cruz of Kenosha died on July 5 of an infection called blastomycosis. This happened because of blastomyces, a fungus living in the soil of wooded areas, The Daily Mail reports.

The story of Sonya’s tragic death has been shared by her widowed husband, John Cruz, who, together with the family, seeks to raise public awareness about the illness caused by forest fungi.

While the condition affects only 1-2 people per 100,000 annually in some US states, it kills up to 78% of those infected, a staggering death rate.

The fact that the infection is quite rare doesn’t help. It shares symptoms with many other diseases. Doctors are often unable to identify its cause on time and thus treat it properly, the report stresses.

That was the case with Sonya who first got sick on June 16 and was treated for pneumonia. Ten days later, she hadn’t improved and ended up sedated and on a ventilator.

It was not until this stage that doctors at St. Katherine’s Hospital identified blastomycosis as the cause of her illness, but that turned out to be too late. The infection occurs after spores from the deadly fungi species end up in the air and are inhaled by a person.

‘Whatever This Is’

Devastated husband John Cruz told Fox 6 that “whatever this is,” it took his wife – and his life away from him.

According to the late wife’s sister, Morgan Hughes, her illness occurred after a telecom company began digging around the former’s home for installing a cable.

The fungus that killed Cruz is the same that, in the spring, infected more than 100 workers of a paper mill in Michigan, the report points out.

In 2021, there were 82 cases of blastomycosis, with 23% of those infected losing their lives – even though in other years, the death rate was about 9%. Hughes said her sister’s death is under investigation by the Wisconsin health department.

Wisconsin alone saw 1,412 cases from 2011-2020. Of those, 60% were hospitalized and 124 (11%) died. The deadly fungus infection is expected to gain a lot more public attention as a precaution.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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