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Forum Name: Fungal infections

Question: Histoplasmosis


 OrcaBC - Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:03 pm

I was diagnosed with Presumed Ocular Histoplasmosis in 1981. Since that time it has gone from one eye to the other. I have growing problems over the years with muscle and joint pains and a host of other ailments. Most recently I have bouts of severe pain in my upper right quadrant and occasional hematuria. I have severe fatty liver (non-alcohol) and infiltrated pancreas but I have been told that that should not cause pain. I've been told my kidneys are fine and my liver enzymes are ok. My GP and specialists have no answers. I understand that there is a disseminated form of histoplasmosis but is a serious, and most commonly, deadly form. My question is this: If histo can be found in the lungs and eyes, then is it possible that it be found in joints and muscles and other areas of the body to cause aches and pains? If so, how can one test for it? I can't find any answers; most GP's have not dealt with it and specialists in my area don't know (BC). Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:05 pm

User avatar Hi OrcaBC,

Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that is very common, especially in the Ohio River Valley area of the US. It typically produces an acute, self limited lung infection and then clears but it can become chronic or disseminate throughout the body.

Disseminated histoplasmosis tends to be a severe disease that makes people quite ill. It can spread to essentially any organ of the body. Symptoms of dissemination can include fever, chills, cough, skin rashes, muscle and joint aches, nausea and vomiting, and headaches among other things. It can also affect the eyes, as you know.

Diagnosis of dissemination is based upon findings of infection in other parts of the body. This can include a biopsy of an enlarged lymph node or spot in an organ such as a liver and finding the fungus, a blood culture that grows the fungus, or isolating an antigen of the fungus in the urine.

Treatment of dissemination is with strong antifungal medications, often IV for a period of time. Treatment really should involve the advice of an infectious disease specialist.

Follow up with your doctor about this is important. Disseminated histoplasmosis is possible, although to the degree you are describing I would expect you to feel quite sick.

Best wishes.

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