Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus (or mold) called Histoplasma. The fungus is common in the eastern and central United States. It grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings. You get infected by breathing the fungal spores. You cannot get the infection from someone else.

Histoplasmosis is often mild, with no symptoms. If you do get sick, it usually affects your lungs. Symptoms include feeling ill, fever, chest pains, and a dry cough. In severe cases, histoplasmosis spreads to other organs. This is called disseminated disease. It is more common in infants, young children, seniors, and people with immune system problems.

Your doctor might do a variety of tests to make the diagnosis, including a chest x-ray, CT scan of the lungs, or examining blood, urine, or tissues for signs of the fungus. Mild cases usually get better without treatment. Treatment of severe or chronic cases is with antifungal drugs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Symptoms of Histoplasmosis

The following features are indicative of Histoplasmosis:
  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • chest pain
  • joint pain
  • mouth sores
  • red lumps
  • fever
  • sweating
  • irritation
  • swelling

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Common Causes of Histoplasmosis

The following are the most common causes of Histoplasmosis:
  • inhaling spores of histoplasma capsulatum fungus

Risk Factors for Histoplasmosis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Histoplasmosis:
  • young children
  • old people
  • farmers
  • pest control workers
  • poultry keepers
  • construction workers
  • roofers
  • landscapers and gardeners
  • cave explorers
  • people with other immune system weakening diseases

Prevention of Histoplasmosis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Histoplasmosis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid exposure to fungal spores
  • spray soil thoroughly with water
  • wear face mask
  • cleaning and remodeling old buildings
  • cleaning chicken coops
  • exploring caves

Occurrence of Histoplasmosis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Histoplasmosis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Extremely rare less than 1000 cases

Common Age Group

Histoplasmosis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Histoplasmosis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Histoplasmosis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Histoplasmosis:
  • Blood or urine tests: To test antibodies or proteins histoplasmosis
  • Blood, urine or sputum cultures: For clear diagnosis of histoplasmosis
  • Bronchoscopy: To look for signs of infection
  • Spinal tap: To look for signs of infection in cerebrospinal fluid
  • Computerized tomography scan: To create transverse images of the chest and upper abdomen

Doctor for Diagnosis of Histoplasmosis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Histoplasmosis:
  • Pulmonologist
  • Cardiologist

Complications of Histoplasmosis if untreated

Yes, Histoplasmosis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Histoplasmosis is left untreated:
  • heart problems
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • meningitis
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome

Self-care for Histoplasmosis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Histoplasmosis:
  • Avoid exposure to fungal spores
  • Use face mask: Cover face with mask

Time for Treatment of Histoplasmosis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Histoplasmosis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 months - 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Histoplasmosis.

Related Topics

Fungal Infections

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