Several types of histoplasmosis exist. The mildest form produces no signs or symptoms, but severe infections can be life-threatening. When signs and symptoms do occur, they usually appear three to 17 days after exposure and may include:
- Muscle aches
- Dry cough
- Chest discomfort
In some people, histoplasmosis can also produce joint pain and a rash. People who have an underlying lung disease, such as emphysema, may develop a chronic form of histoplasmosis that can additionally feature weight loss and a cough that brings up blood. Symptoms of chronic histoplasmosis sometimes can mimic those of tuberculosis.
The most severe variety of histoplasmosis occurs primarily in infants and in people with compromised immune systems. Called disseminated histoplasmosis, this variety can affect nearly any part of your body, including your eyes, liver, central nervous system, skin and adrenal glands. If untreated, disseminated histoplasmosis is usually fatal.
When to see a doctor
Contact your doctor if you develop flu-like symptoms after being exposed to bird or bat droppings — especially if you have a weakened immune system.
Feb. 08, 2012
- Histoplasmosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/histoplasmosis. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Kaufman CA. Histoplasmosis. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Wheat J, et al. Pathogenesis and clinical features of pulmonary histoplasmosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Hage CH, et al. Histoplasmosis: Introduction. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Fort GG, et al. Histoplasmosis. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Davies SF, et al. Fungal infections: Histoplasmosis. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Histoplasmosis: Protecting workers at risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-109. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Van Duin D. Histoplasmosis. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.