Histoplasma capsulatum, a dimorphic fungus.
Via inhalation of spores from soil contaminated with bat guano or bird droppings.
Nature of the disease
Most cases are asymptomatic. Some infections may cause acute pulmonary histoplasmosis, characterized by high fever, headache, non-productive cough, chills, weakness, pleuritic chest pain and fatigue. Most people recover spontaneously, but in some cases dissemination can occur, in particular to the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. Risk of dissemination is higher in severely immunocompromised individuals.
Risk for travellers
Generally low except where the traveller may be exposed to bird droppings and bat guano. High-risk activities include spelunking, mining, and construction and excavation work.
Avoid bat-inhabited caves. No vaccine available.