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Histoplasmosis

  • Posted on- Aug 06, 2015
  • 1864 Views

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused when airborne spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum are inhaled into the lungs. This infectious disease primarily affects the lungs & sometimes can spread to other parts of the body. This kind of the disease is known as disseminated histoplasmosis, and it can be critical if untreated.

Histoplasma capsulatum is a microscopic dimorhous fungus that grows stronger in moderate temperatures and moist environments and appears as yeast at body temperature in mammals. Histoplasma capsulatum is commonly found throughout the world in river valleys and soil where chickens, pigeons, starlings, blackbirds, and bat droppings accumulate, is released into the air when soil is disturbed by ploughing fields, sweeping chicken coops, or digging holes.

The soil in indigenous region gives an acidic damp environment with high organic content that is good for mycelia production. Highly contaminated soil is found near areas inherent by bats and birds. Birds cannot be infected by the fungus because of their high body temperatures, but they do carry it on their feathers. But bats can become infected because they have a lower body temperature than birds, and they spread the fungus through droppings.

How histoplasmosis is caused?
Histoplasmosis is produced by a microscopic dimorhous fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus produces spores that can be inhaled when they get into the air. Spores are hardy forms of the fungus that can live in the environment for a long time. The spores are extremely light and can be float into the air when dirt or other polluted material is disturbed .There are large number of cases appears in farmers, landscapers, construction workers & the people who are living near construction sites and spelunkers.

Histoplasmosis is generally not harmful in primary stages and so mild that it produces no apparent sign & symptoms. Any sign that might appear are generally just like to those from a common cold. If any individual had histoplasmosis symptoms, he /she might dismiss them as those from a flu or cold, since the body's immune system generally overcomes the infection in some days without treatment.


Symptoms

Histoplasmosis can affect generally any region of the body such as eyes, liver, bone marrow, skin, adrenal glands & intestinal tract. The condition of the disease show which organs are affected. Individuals with this kind of the disease may have anaemia, pneumonia, pericarditis, meningitis, adrenal insufficiency mouth ulcers, tongue or intestinal tract. Histoplasmosis, in even mild conditions can later produce a critical eye disease known as ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS), a leading cause of vision loss. Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Discomfort feeling
  • Bloody spitting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Muscles pain
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Inflammation of the sac around the heart
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Chest pain
  • Dry or non-productive cough
  • Breathing uneasiness
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Bulging of liver and spleen
  • Skin rashes
  • Vision loss
  • Tuberculosis


Treatment

Treatment of histoplasmosis depends on the complexity of the disease. Anti fungal treatments are taken to cure the complex cases of acute histoplasmosis and all cases of chronic and disseminated disorders. Mild diseases generally cure without treatment & may require only symptomatic measures.

Efficacious treatments are available in the market for even the most complex forms of histoplasmosis. Amphotericin B or itraconazole may be used to treat the disease histoplasmosis. Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) may need treatment with an anti fungal medication for their long life to prevent further attacks of histoplasmosis.

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