• Histoplasmosis

    Definition

    Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that often causes a respiratory illness.

    Causes

    Histoplasmosis is caused by infection with a fungus. Humans become infected by exposure to bird and bat droppings.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that increases your chance of getting histoplasmosis include:
    • Having a job that puts you in contact with bird or bat droppings (such as an aviary)
    • Being involved in activities that put you in contact with bird or bat droppings (such as cave exploration)
    • Keeping birds as pets
    • Living along river valleys
    • Living in Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, or Tennessee
    • Living in eastern Canada, Mexico, Central or South America, parts of the Caribbean, southeast Asia, or Africa
    • Having recently traveled to a location where histoplasmosis is common
    • Having a medical condition that weakens your immune system (especially HIV )

    Symptoms

    Many patients may not have any symptoms.
    Symptoms may include:
    • Weakness
    • Headache
    • Achy muscles
    • Joint pain
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Malaise (a feeling of discomfort or uneasiness)
    • Hemoptysis (spitting out blood)
    • Chest pain
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Weight loss
    • Mouth sores
    • Enlarged liver and spleen
    • Skin rashes
    • Loss of vision

    Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Tests may include:
    Bone Biopsy
    Bone biopsy
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    Treatment

    Antifungal Medications

    These may include amphotericin B or itraconazole. Patients with AIDS may require treatment with an antifungal medication for the rest of their lives to prevent further attacks of histoplasmosis.

    Prevention

    If you might be exposed to bird or bat droppings, wear a face mask. If you have a weakened immune system, completely avoid bird and bat droppings.

    RESOURCES

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNational Institutes of Health (NIH) http://www.niaid.nih.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Communicable Disease Control UnitManitoba Health http://www.gov.mb.ca/

    Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

    References

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov . Accessed 11/11/2009.

    Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment . Lange Medical Books; 2001.

    Family Practice Sourcebook . Mosby; 2000.

    Ferri's Clinical Advisor . Mosby; 2000.

    The Little Black Book of Primary Care . Blackwell Science; 1999.

    Revision Information

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