Histoplasmosis is yet another fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs, although it occasionally infects other organs too. The fungus causing Histoplasmosis is called Histoplasma Capsulatum. The tricky feature of this infection is that it stays asymptomatic in the initial stages until it starts to spread into other organs or disseminating, by which time it takes very dangerous and potentially fatal proportions.
Let us get to the symptoms of Histoplasmosis to see what it is we should be wary of in case we are in the high risk group (discussed later in the post) to be able to contact a doctor:
• Cough or flu-like symptoms such as fever
• Ague / Chills
• Cough and Laboured breathing
• Excessive sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Headache and stiffness of the neck
• Skin lesions and rashes
• Mouth sores
• Skin nodules
• Fatigue and Malaise
• Weight loss and weakness
• Blood in cough sputum
Please note that any or a combination of these symptoms may be presented to the person depending on the type of Histoplasmosis they are afflicted with. Symptoms start to surface anytime between three days to three weeks from the date of inhalation of the fungal spores carried into the air from soil.
There are four types of Histoplasmosis cases that have been reported. Primary Pulmonary Histoplasmosis (affecting the lungs), Progressive Disseminated Hiptoplasmosis (spreading to infect other organs within the body from it’s initial point), Primary Cutaneous Histoplasmosis (affecting the skin) and the African Histoplasmosis (found in the continent of Africa only)
High risk groups involve:
• Persons with suppressed immune systems due to medication such as steroids or the presence of medical condition such as diabetes or AIDS.
• Males, infants under one year and seniors.
• Persons living in or working with soil in areas of Ohio and the Mississippi River Valley, Central and South Americas, Far East, France and Africa.
• Occupations such as construction site workers, gardernrs, farmers, cleaners, roofers (etc.)