Histoplasmosis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What is the prognosis of histoplasmosis?

People with mild symptoms of histoplasmosis usually resolve the disease on their own without treatment. In more severe cases, the prognosis is good for those who receive appropriate treatment. Certain people will experience relapsing infections and may need long-term therapy with antifungal drugs. Chronic pulmonary histoplasmosis has a mortality (death) rate of up to 50% if no treatment is received (and 28% with treatment). Disseminated histoplasmosis has a poor prognosis when untreated.

Is it possible to prevent histoplasmosis?

There is no vaccine against histoplasmosis. In areas where the fungus is common, it may not be possible to prevent infection. Avoiding areas with bird and bat droppings may provide some protection. Wearing a respirator face mask can provide protection for workers in contaminated areas. Spraying soil with water before working the soil may help prevent release of spores into the air. Having had histoplasmosis in the past can offer some protection against severe disease of you become reinfected.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCES:

Fayyaz, Jazeela. "Histoplasmosis." Medscape.com. Nov. 20, 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/299054-overview >.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Histoplasmosis." Feb. 13, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2016

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