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Histoplasmosis

 
 


Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus produces spores that can live in the environment for a long time and can be inhaled when they get into the air. The histoplasmosis fungus lives in the soil, specially which is enriched with bat or bird droppings. People get histoplasmosis when they breathe in dust that contains the fungus.

It first affects the lungs which can remain asymptomatic or produce flu like symptoms like fever, dry cough, chest pain etc. The pulmonary histoplasmosis or the lung infection can be mild, acute or it can be serious chronic infection. The chronic lung infection is like tuberculosis and occurs mostly in persons who already have lung diseases like tuberculosis, emphysema etc. The patients have excessive sweating, fever, coughing up blood (hemoptysis).

The chronic lung infection can spread through the blood to other parts of the body and can take severe form of Disseminated Histoplasmosis with different symptoms. The most susceptible are persons with HIV infection, those who have had a bone marrow or organ transplant, and those receiving chemotherapy for cancer. The Liver and Spleen get enlarged. Extrapulmonary Histoplasmosis may have no symptoms initially but later the sickness gradually increases in severity and can present with headache, body ache, neck stiffness, mouth or skin lesions.

Histoplama Syndromes - Patients can present with complications like joints pain, skin nodules, involvment of the lining of the heart (pericardium), mediastinitis (inflamation of mid thorax). Mediastinal granuloma or meningitis (inflamation of lining of brain).

Ocular Histoplasmosis - the fungus affect the inner lining of eye(retina) leading to scarring. These "Histo Spots" may be found in both eyes and affect the vision or cause blindness or distorted vision.

Ocular Histoplasmosis Treatment - Though fungal Ocular Histoplasmosis is only treatable through surgical means, more specifically, laser photocoagulation of the retina cells. This recoagulation process only prevents future vision loss and does not correct what has already been lost.

Treatment of Histoplasmosis
- FUNGISOME (Amphotericin B) i.v.
- FUNGITRACE® (Itraconazole) oral
Long term maintenance therapy is usually needed.

 

 
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