Histoplasmosis - Symptoms & Treatment
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. H. capsulatum is found throughout the world and is endemic in certain areas of the United States. Histoplasmosis is spread through the air. The infection sometimes can spread to other parts of the body. This microscopic fungus, which is found throughout the world in river valleys and soil where bird or bat droppings accumulate, is released into the air when soil is disturbed by plowing fields, sweeping chicken coops, or digging holes. If soil containing the histoplasmosis fungus is disturbed, the fungus spores get into the air. Histoplasma organism thrives in moderate temperatures and moist environments. Droppings from chickens, pigeons, starlings, blackbirds, and bats support its growth. Birds are not infected with it because of their high body temperatures, but they do carry it on their feathers. When these conidia are inhaled, they are small enough that they enter the lungs and start an infection.Many of these infections are easily overlooked because they either produce mild symptoms or none at all. However, histoplasmosis can be severe and produce an illness similar to tuberculosis. Histoplasma species may remain latent in healed granulomas and recur, resulting in cell-mediated immunity impairment. People can breathe in the spores and get histoplasmosis. The disease is not spread from person to person.
Causes of Histoplasmosis
Common causes of Histoplasmosis
- Histoplasma capsulatum.
- Comorbid factors.
Symptoms of Histoplasmosis
Common Symptoms of Histoplasmosis
- Chest pains.
- Nonproductive cough..
- Shortness of breath.
- Neck stiffness.
- Skin lesions.
- Mouth sores.
- Skin nodules.
Treatment of Histoplasmosis
Common Treatment of Histoplasmosis
- Typical treatment of severe disease first involves treatment with amphotericin B, followed by oral itraconazole.
- Avoid areas that may harbor the fungus.
- Avoid areas where the fungus might be growing, especially areas with accumulations of bird or bat droppings.
- Treat extensive maculopathy in presumed ocular histoplasmosis with steroids.
- Avoid disturbing accumulations of bat or bird droppings, and minimize exposure to dust in potentially contaminated sites.