What is histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis is a fatal infection that is usually caused by fungus that is usually present in bat droppings. These fungi are usually airborne and they primarily affect the lungs but sometimes they also affect other organs and it is one of the fatal diseases especially if it is not treated immediately. The most vulnerable group of people that are likely to be quickly infected by the disease is those whose immunity systems are very weak. You can therefore be infected with the disease when its spores become airborne and also through contaminated soils. Farmers and other landscapers are advised to be extra careful because they are at a very high risk of contracting this vicious disease. One unique fact about this disease is that people infected will not have any symptoms therefore they will not be aware of the disease. The best advice is to seek immediate medical attention when you realize that you have serious breathing problems.
Symptoms and other signs: As mentioned earlier, it is not easy to identify the symptoms of the disease. If there are any symptoms, they will start to appear several days after exposure; within three to seventeen days of your actual exposure. There are no apparent ill effects of the disease but the most likely symptoms in the acute stage include:
- Discomfort in the chest
- Coughs that are dry
- Frequent chills
- Feverish conditions
- Aches in the muscles
In some people, they can have joint pains and rushes in some parts of the body and if the infected person has underlying lung complications, he may develop one of the most chronic forms of the histoplasmosis disease. Symptoms of the chronic form:
- Great weight loss
- Coughs that have blood stains
- Some signs of tuberculosis
Severe stage: Severe histoplasmosis primarily occurs in infants and to people whose immune system is very weak; it is usually referred to as the disseminated histoplasmosis and usually affects most parts of the body like:
- The central nervous system
- The adrenal glands
Causes: Histoplasmosis is usually caused by the spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum that are usually very light and they can easily be carried by air when the materials that they contaminated in are slightly disturbed. The disease can reoccur in your body again but the second attack is usually milder than the initial attack. The fungus thrives very well in soil that is damp and rich in organic materials like droppings of the bats because of this reason it is also common in poultry that you keep at home. The good news is that the disease is not contagious and it cannot be spread from person to person. It is advisable to always seek immediate medical attention when you get infected.
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