I have just been told I have a 5 mm nodule in my lower lung. The Dr mentioned Histoplasmosis. He said it's common in Michigan. Also, there is an egg farm (chickens) just down the road. How do they diagnose Histoplasmosis? I am having a CT scan next week. I had a clear x-ray 18 months ago. What can I expect?
Let's pretend I know a lot. A lot of readers would never have heard of the above condition or even seen a word that big before.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Its symptoms vary greatly, but the disease primarily affect the lungs. Occasionally, other organs are affected. This form of the disease is called disseminated histoplasmosis, and it can be fatal if untreated.
Positive histoplasmin skin tests occur in as many as 80% of the people living in areas where H. capsulatum is common, such as the eastern and central United States. Infants, young children, and older persons, in particular those with chronic lung disease are at increased risk for severe disease. Disseminated disease is more frequently seen in people with cancer, AIDS or other forms of immunosuppression.
H. capsulatum grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings. Spores become airborne when contaminated soil is disturbed. Breathing the spores causes infection. The disease is not transmitted from an infected person to someone else.
Most infected persons have no apparent ill effects. The acute respiratory disease is characterized by respiratory symptoms, a general ill feeling, fever, chest pains, and a dry or nonproductive cough. Distinct patterns may be seen on a chest x-ray. Chronic lung disease resembles tuberculosis and can worsen over months or years. The disseminated form is fatal unless treated.
If symptoms occur, they will start within 3 to 17 days after exposure; the average is 10 days.
Antifungal medications are used to treat severe cases of acute histoplasmosis and all cases of chronic and disseminated disease. Mild disease usually resolves without treatment. Past infection results in partial protection against ill effects if reinfected.
( Kind of makes me glad I live in Ireland )
All that is required to get histoplasmosis is to inhale the fungal spores. You can technically get it by doing anything outdoors. I have it and have no idea how I picked it up.