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Histoplasmosis: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When talking about a systemic infection, most people think of a growth of viruses or bacteria that cause a disease and when mentioning fungi, they usually only think of skin lesions. However, there are systemic infections that can be produced by the entry of fungi into our body, as is the case in people affected by histoplasmosis. Although the symptoms of this condition are usually mild, in people who have been exposed to a large amount of the fungus or who have a weakened immune system, they can cause symptoms that are easily confused with other diseases, so in this article of FastlyHealwe will explain everything about histoplasmosis: symptoms and treatment so that you know what to do in case you suspect the presence of this disease.

What is histoplasmosis and how is it spread?

Histoplasmosis is a systemic mycosis, that is, a fungal infection that enters the body to affect an organ, which in the case of this disease is the lungs . The causative agent of histoplasmosis is called Histoplasma capsulatum , which like many fungi has the ability to exist in spore or yeast form, depending on conditions.

The fungus that causes histoplasmosis is found naturally in the droppings of birds such as pigeons, chickens, chickens, and other poultry, and especially in the guano produced by bats. In this medium, the fungus remains in the form of yeast which allows it to float and be inhaled by people, passes through the airways to the lungs where it lodges in its yeast form and causes disease.

The Histoplasma capsulatum can be found mainly in the United States and virtually every country in Central and South America, although cases have been reported in Africa, Europe and Asia. The regions that are usually most affected are those near caves inhabited by bats or pigeons, as well as chicken coops and silos.

Histoplasmosis symptoms

In most cases, when a completely healthy person inhales the spores of histoplasmosis, the infection passes and heals without the affected person noticing it because it shows few symptoms , although sometimes it can produce a picture similar to a viral infection. and it can leave calcifications in the lungs . When frequent exposure to spores is combined with smoking, it can cause a more rapid deterioration of the lungs due to the sum of the two irritations.

Particularly in young patients, histoplasmosis can cause systemic symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation of the liver and jaundice, and skin lesions and rashes. In adults whose immune system is in good condition it can produce a chronic infection that progresses very slowly with symptoms of intermittent fever, weight loss, fatigue, inflammation of the liver and affection of the heart, meninges and adrenal glands.

In patients whose immune system is deficient, such as people with the human immunodeficiency virus , AIDS, leukemia , lymphomas, or who take immunosuppressive drugs, the disease can progress faster and cause much more damage to level of the lungs in a shorter time.

Histoplasmosis diagnosis

This fungal disease that occurs in the respiratory tract can be diagnosed through different tests and medical examinations such as the following:

  • Lung biopsy
  • Liver biopsy
  • Skin biopsy
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Urine, blood, and saliva cultures
  • Broncoscopia
  • Chest x-ray
  • Chest CT scan
  • Spinal tap

Treatments for histoplasmosis

Most cases of people infected by Histoplasma capsulatum suffer from a disease that shows little or no symptoms because the immune system is competent enough to fight the infection, in which it is only necessary to control the symptoms of the affected person.

For immunosuppressed people who have developed more severe symptoms of the disease, the administration of antifungals intravenously or orally is usually necessary to control the progression of histoplasmosis. In some cases in the lungs there are growths and formation of quite large calcified tissues that may need to be removed by surgery.

Histoplasmosis prevention

People who are most at risk for histoplasmosis are those who work with farmed birds due to the presence of the spore in their feces. For these people the use of masks is recommended to avoid inhalation of the fungus. For the rest of the people, the general recommendation is to avoid areas where there is a risk of infection, such as chicken coops, or protect yourself with a mask if you visit them.

Around the world there are natural lands that serve as tourist sites, such as bat caves. If you ever travel to any of these places it is recommended to protect the airways due to the risk of contracting histoplasmosis.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Histoplasmosis: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

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