Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum. The lungs are the usual site of the infection.
What is going on in the body?
Histoplasmosis occurs in many areas of the world. The fungus is found in soil that is contaminated with bird or bat droppings. It usually gets into the body when it is inhaled into the lungs. Most of the time, the infection stays in the lungs and causes respiratory problems. If the infection travels to other body organs, it is known as disseminated histoplasmosis.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
In a geographic area where Histoplasma capsulatum is common, up to 80% of the people have been exposed to the fungus. Most people don't develop any symptoms. The following groups are more likely to develop symptoms of the infection:
individuals with chronic lung disease, such as COPD
people with immunodeficiency disorders, such as HIV infection
People with AIDS or cancer are more likely to develop disseminated histoplasmosis.