If you have been diagnosed with histoplasmosis, you may wish to go over the following five questions with your doctor:
1. I have never heard of this disease. What is histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs though it occasionally does infect other organs. 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.
2. Besides the chills, mouth sores and weight loss I am suffering from right now, what else could I be looking at in terms of symptoms?
Histoplasmosis can remain asymptomatic for almost as long as a week to three weeks before symptoms start to appear. Besides the symptoms you have mentioned, a patient could also experience the following:
• Cough or flu-like symptoms such as fever
• Labored breathing
• Excessive sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Headache and stiffness of the neck
• Skin lesions and rashes
• Skin nodules
• Fatigue and malaise
• Blood in cough sputum
3. My test report says "Primary Cutaneous Histoplasmosis"--are there other types that this could turn into, like a secondary infection?
No. However, there are four types of histoplasmosis cases that have been reported. They are primary pulmonary histoplasmosis (affecting the lungs), progressive disseminated histoplasmosis (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)
4. Am I in the high risk group more susceptible to complications?
That depends. You will be considered high risk group if you are a
• Person with suppressed immune systems due to medication such as steroids or the presence of medical condition such as diabetes or AIDS.
• Male, or a senior
• Person living in or working with soil in areas of Ohio and the Mississippi River Valley, Central and South Americas, Far East, France and Africa