Histoplasmosis – More Common than We Thought – New Study Reveals
Have you heard of histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, or valley fever (coccidioidomycosis)?
They are respiratory diseases known as “Dimorphic Mycoses.” These diseases are caused by breathing in fungal spores.
A study published on November 11, 2022, has shown these diseases to be more widespread than previously thought. Histoplasmosis was found in 48 states and had the largest number of cases. As a result of the findings, medical professionals are advised to consider dimorphic fungi, such as Histoplasma, Coccidioides, and Blastomyces, as potential causes of respiratory disease.
Where does histoplasmosis come from?
Histoplasma grows in soil in some parts of America. It is sometimes found in an accumulation of bat or bird droppings. When soil or droppings are disturbed, fungal spores are released into the air. People who breathe in these spores may develop a respiratory infection.
What are the symptoms of Histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis, Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis), and Blastomycosis have similar symptoms to other respiratory diseases, which can include:
- Chest Pain
- Muscle aches
Which states have these diseases?
Experts previously thought histoplasmosis was mainly found in the mid-west and eastern states, such as Ohio and Mississippi.
The new study analyzed over 45 million patients over ten years (2007-2016). The results found histoplasmosis cropping up in counties not thought to have the disease. The study stated the “primary outcome was the incidence of histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, and blastomycosis for each US county.” Altogether, “there were 79,749 histoplasmosis, 37,726 coccidioidomycosis, and 6,109 blastomycosis diagnoses in unique persons”.
The result of these findings is that the research analysts have recommended that clinicians consider Dimorphic Mycoses diagnoses based on patients’ symptoms regardless of whether the diseases are common in that locality.
Avoid contact with Fungal Spores.
Not everyone who comes into contact with spores from dimorphic fungi will get sick. However, if you have low immunity, you may be more at risk of developing an infection. Therefore, we recommend that everyone follow this advice:
- Avoid contact with bat or bird droppings. According to the CDC: “Large amounts of bird or bat droppings should be cleaned up by professional companies that specialize in the removal of hazardous waste.”
- If you have bats roosting in your residential or commercial property, you will be at a greater risk of contracting an illness such as Histoplasmosis. Therefore, we recommend you contact a bat removal company for professional bat removal and guano clean-up. Our technicians have PPE and high-grade masks to keep them safe.
- Finally, if you are experiencing respiratory infection symptoms following contact with soil or droppings, make an appointment with your doctor.
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