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