What is histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis is a lung infection caused by the fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum. In severe cases, it can spread throughout the body.
What are the symptoms of histoplasmosis?
Most healthy people infected with histoplasmosis never experience any symptoms, because their bodies fight the illness. In people who experience symptoms, the following are the most common:
- Chest pain
- Muscle aches
- Weight loss
Severe cases of histoplasmosis include the following:
- Night sweats
- Cough could eject blood
- Shortness of breath
How will my doctor know I have histoplasmosis?
Your doctor may do blood tests or urine for histoplasmosis. You can also take a tissue sample for testing. Chest radiographs and computed tomography are useful to detect inflammation in the lungs, but your doctor can not be sure that you have histoplasmosis just by looking at an x-ray or CT.
How is it treated?
Treatment depends on how severe the infection is and how the illness has lasted. Many people do not need any treatment and the body fights the histoplasmosis infection alone. Some people should take an antifungal medication such as amphotericin or itraconazole. If you need medicine for histoplasmosis, your doctor will monitor you closely for side effects in the kidney or liver caused by the drug. You may need to take medicine for several weeks or months. If you have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), you may need to take this medicine for the rest of your life.
Some people should go to hospital for oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids. Other people can be treated at home. Most people respond well to treatment.