Infection is usually asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic; however, infection with a large number of organisms or in people with immunodeficiency can result in severe, symptomatic pulmonary infection, which requires treatment.
Risk factors for more severe respiratory disease include inhalation of a large inoculum, impaired cellular immunity (e.g., AIDS/HIV infection, chronic immunosuppressive therapy), age <2 years, and chronic lung disease.
Endemic in temperate regions of the world including the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri River valleys in the US, southern Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. African histoplasmosis is a different clinical entity and is not covered in this topic.
The fungus proliferates well in soil contaminated with bird or bat droppings; therefore, exposure to H capsulatum is commonly associated with cave exploration, close proximity to chicken roosts, demolition and excavation, and gathering wood.
Histoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. It is not communicable from person to person but is acquired from inhalational exposure to infectious spores found in soil contaminated with bird or bat droppings. African histoplasmosis is a different clinical entity and will not be discussed here.
History and exam
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- scattered crackles on chest auscultation
- bronchial breathing on chest auscultation
- distant breath sounds on chest auscultation
- meningitis-like symptoms
- skin lesions
- gastrointestinal symptoms
- sepsis-like syndrome
Zainab A. Malik, MD, MS, FAAP
Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Mediclinic City Hospital
United Arab Emirates
ZAM has received speakers' honoraria from Merck-MSD.
David L. Goldman, MD
Pediatric Infectious Diseases
The Children's Hospital at Montefiore
DLG declares that he has no competing interests.
Paul Roberts, MD
PR declares that he has no competing interests.
Janak Koirala, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
Department of Internal Medicine
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
JK declares that he has no competing interests.
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