HistoplasmosisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that often causes a respiratory illness.
Histoplasmosis is caused by infection with a fungus. Humans become infected by exposure to bird and bat droppings.
Factors that increases your chance of getting histoplasmosis include:
- Having a job that puts you in contact with bird or bat droppings (such as an aviary)
- Being involved in activities that put you in contact with bird or bat droppings (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
Having a medical condition that weakens your immune system (especially
Many patients may not have any symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
- Achy muscles
- Joint pain
- Malaise (a feeling of discomfort or uneasiness)
- Hemoptysis (spitting out blood)
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Mouth sores
- Enlarged liver and spleen
- Skin rashes
- Loss of vision
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
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These may include amphotericin B or itraconazole. Patients with AIDS may require treatment with an antifungal medication for the rest of their lives to prevent further attacks of histoplasmosis.
If you might be exposed to bird or bat droppings, wear a face mask. If you have a weakened immune system, completely avoid bird and bat droppings.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Communicable Disease Control Unit
Public Health Agency of Canada
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at:
. Accessed 11/11/2009.
Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment
. Lange Medical Books; 2001.
Family Practice Sourcebook
. Mosby; 2000.
Ferri's Clinical Advisor
. Mosby; 2000.
The Little Black Book of Primary Care
. Blackwell Science; 1999.
Last Reviewed November 2012