Histoplasma capsulatum infection

Histoplasma capsulatum infection: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Histoplasma capsulatum infectionHistoplasma capsulatum infection is an infection in the lungs caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum. It is common in most of the central and eastern United States. The fungus grows in soil, as well as bird and bat droppings. It is spread by breathing in the spores of disturbed soil.Many Histoplasma capsulatum infections do not produce symptoms. The illness occurs in two forms. The acute form is much like a mild case of influenza and is rarely serious.The chronic form, which is much less common, may resemble tuberculosis. In rare cases, the disease will spread throughout the body. This is most likely to happen in the very young, the very elderly and people with impaired immune systems, including people with cancer and AIDS. If histoplasmosis has spread, it can be life-threatening if it is not treated. People who have a chronic lung disease, such as COPD, are at higher risk of a more severe infection.Risk Factors:Chimney cleaner.
  • Construction worker.
  • Demolition worker.
  • Farmer.
  • Gardener.
  • Heating and air-conditioning system installer or service person.
  • Roofer.
  • Spelunker (cave explorer).
  • Bridge inspector or painter.
  • Restorer of historic or abandoned buildings.
  • Pest control worker.
  • Microbiology laboratory worker.
Symptoms:A general ill feeling.
  • Fever.
  • Chest pains.
  • Cough that doesn't bring up mucus.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Headache.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Skin lesions.
Diagnosis:How the disease is diagnosed depends on which parts of the body are affected. A chest x-ray may be able to detect Histoplasma capsulatum infection. In some cases, the doctor may take samples of blood, urine, sputum, or take tissue from your lymph nodes, lung or bone marrow to look for the fungus.Liver enzymes and kidney function tests and other blood tests including inflammatory markers (PCT, IL-6, CRP, SAA), tumor markers (AFP, CEA, CA19-9, CA-125), autoantibodies, antibodies related to infectious diseases including hepatitis B & C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) tests during the hospital stay.Treatment:Currently, treatment with AmphocinSM is only recommended for severe pulmonary or disseminated disease and then only as an initial therapy, with a shift to an azole agent when the patient's symptoms improve. Itraconazole (antifungal agent) is the preferred choice for treatment of mild-to-moderate histoplasmosis. Voriconazole, for the treatment of relapse after initial therapy with itraconazole is another treatment option.NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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