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Histoplasmosis (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis for Histoplasmosis?

About 90% of patients that acquire acute pulmonary histoplasmosis are asymptomatic and about another 5%-7% who develop symptoms recover completely so the prognosis or outcomes are good for the majority of patients. Few may get acute pericarditis and pleural effusions. As the severity of the disease increases, the prognosis worsens from fair to poor. Chronic pulmonary histoplasmosis patients usually develop cavities in the lungs and lung nodules that may calcify. These changes may reduce lung capacity and increase chances for secondary lung infections. Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis has a grim prognosis (death in a few weeks to months) if not appropriately treated. Even with appropriate treatment, some patients will experience relapses and may require antifungal medication for the rest of their life.

How Can One Prevent Histoplasmosis?

There is no vaccine to prevent histoplasmosis. The CDC recommends people "avoid areas with accumulations of bird or bat droppings, especially if you have a weakened immune system. Areas with accumulations of bird or bat droppings should be cleaned up by professional companies that specialize in the removal of hazardous waste." For those workers who may need to be in areas with high levels of fungi, the CDC has a book that addresses safety methods titled "Workers at Risk."

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCE:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Fungal Diseases." Nov. 21, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/index.html>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2016

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