What are the Symptoms of Histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection caused by inhaling spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Symptoms can vary widely, and in many cases, individuals may not experience noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can resemble those of respiratory or flu-like illnesses. Common symptoms of histoplasmosis include:

  • Fever: A persistent or intermittent fever is a common symptom of histoplasmosis.
  • Cough: A dry or productive cough may develop, often resembling a respiratory infection.
  • Fatigue: Generalized weakness or fatigue can be a symptom of histoplasmosis.
  • Chills: Individuals with histoplasmosis may experience chills, especially during fever episodes.
  • Headache: Headaches are a possible symptom, though they are nonspecific and can be caused by various conditions.
  • Muscle Aches: Body aches and muscle pains can occur, contributing to an overall feeling of discomfort.
  • Chest Pain: Some individuals may experience chest pain, particularly if the infection affects the lungs.

In severe cases or in individuals with weakened immune systems, histoplasmosis can progress to a more serious form known as disseminated histoplasmosis. Symptoms of disseminated histoplasmosis may include:

  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath may occur.
  • Cough with Blood: Coughing up blood or hemoptysis can be a sign of more severe lung involvement.
  • Enlarged Spleen and Liver: Swelling and tenderness in the abdomen may occur due to involvement of the spleen and liver.
  • Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of disseminated histoplasmosis.

It’s important to note that symptoms of histoplasmosis can vary based on the severity of the infection and the individual’s overall health. If you suspect you have histoplasmosis or are experiencing persistent symptoms, especially if you live in an area where the fungus is prevalent, seek medical attention. Diagnosis often involves laboratory tests, such as cultures or blood tests, and treatment typically includes antifungal medications.