Disseminated histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that occurs after inhaling the spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum.
Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus found in the central and eastern United States (Mississippi and Ohio River Valley), eastern Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Most cases are mild or without symptoms. Acute pulmonary histoplasmosis may occur in epidemics after heavy exposure. Progressive or spreading (disseminated) and chronic disease can also occur. In disseminated disease, the infection has spread to other organs from the lungs through the bloodstream.
The liver and spleen are usually enlarged, and any body organ may be involved. Ulcerations of the mouth or gastrointestinal tract may occur. Risk factors are travel to or residence within the central or eastern United States, and exposure to the droppings of birds and bats.
Kauffman CA. Histoplasmosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 353.
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