Histoplasmosis is caused by a specific fungus. People often become infected when they inhale the fungus. The fungus can become airborne in dust or debris during demolition projects. People can also come in contact with the fungus through contact with soil contaminated with bat or bird droppings.
Factors that may increase your chances of exposure to histoplasmosis:
Having a job that puts you in contact with bird or bat droppings, such as in an aviary
Being involved in activities that put you in contact with bird or bat droppings, such 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
Not everyone who comes in contact with the fungus will develop an infection. Medical conditions that weaken your immune system, like
HIV, cancer treatment, certain biologic therapies to treat joint and soft tissue diseases, or having an organ transplant can increase your chance of infection.
Histoplasmosis does not generally cause symptoms. Symptoms that may occur include:
Feelings of discomfort or uneasiness
Spitting out blood
Shortness of breath
Abdominal fullness from an enlarged liver and spleen
Swollen lymph glands
Loss of vision
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your body fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
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