According to the Mayo Clinic, histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects.
Soil contaminated by bird or bat droppings also can transmit histoplasmosis, so farmers and landscapers are at a higher risk of the disease. In the United States, histoplasmosis most commonly occurs in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys.
Most people with histoplasmosis never develop symptoms and aren't aware they're infected. But for some people, primarily infants and those with compromised immune systems, histoplasmosis can be serious. Effective treatments are available for even the most severe forms of histoplasmosis.
Several types of histoplasmosis exist. The mildest form produces no signs or symptoms, but severe infections can be life-threatening. The most severe variety of histoplasmosis occurs primarily in infants and in people with compromised immune systems. Called disseminated histoplasmosis, this variety can affect nearly any part of your body, including your eyes, liver, central nervous system, skin and adrenal glands. If untreated, disseminated histoplasmosis is usually fatal.
Contact your doctor if you develop symptoms after being exposed to bird or bat droppings, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
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Bird droppings can lead to a fungal infection that gets in the eyes, heart, and lungs and kills more than 800 people a year. That is, reported cases. In 2012, Michaela Olson became one of them.
Now you know more than most doctors.