Food & Friends

Soil Fungus That Causes Lung Infection Is Spreading Across the U.S.

A fungus that causes lung infection illness known as Histoplasma is found in the soils of nearly the entire U.S.

The scientists behind the research claim that doctors may depend on outdated risk maps and are unable to make diagnoses of the fungus that could be fatal.

Based on research conducted by the CDC, Histoplasma, also known as history, is present in the soils of the eastern and central U.S. States, mostly located in Ohio in those the Mississippi River valleys. However, this theory was based upon research conducted during the 50s and 60s, according to the group behind a recent study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. If a person inhales spores from the fungus, they may develop an infection known as histoplasmosis.

“Every few weeks, I get a call from a doctor in the Boston area – a different doctor every time – about a case they can’t solve,” said study co-author Andrej Spec, who is an assistant professor in medicine in the department of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis in a press announcement. “They always begin with a statement like, “We don’t have any history here, but it appears to be history. I respond, “You guys contact me constantly regarding this. You indeed have histo.'”

Led writer Patrick B. Mazi, an infectious disease clinical fellow diseases in Washington University in St. Louis, and his coworkers studied over 45 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries between 2007 and 2016. They examined the prevalence across the nation of three fungal illnesses: histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, and blastomycosis. History is the most frequently caused clinically significant levels of illness in at minimum one county in 48 out of 50 states in addition to Washington, D.C. The two other diseases were both identified within more than half the states.

“Fungal infections are much more common than people realize, and they’re spreading,” Spec declared in the press announcement. “The scientific community has not invested enough in researching and developing methods to treat fungal diseases. I believe that’s starting to change, but it’s taking time.” In addition, climate changes may fuel this growth as rising temperatures provide more favorable habitats for the fungus.

Although histo is easily treated in healthy adults and most people exposed to it, it does not show any signs. Still, according to CDC, those with an immune system impairment.

Infants and those over 55, may suffer from more serious illnesses that can cause cough and fever, chest discomfort.

Symptoms can be seen within 3 to 17 days following exposure. The majority of symptoms will disappear within a month. However, when it is spread from an individual’s lungs, the condition can become serious and require several months of treatment.

People are susceptible to pathogens such as histo or other fungi during activities that disturb soils, including gardening. It can also be exposed in caves or when working in basements or attics. Spec said. “It’s important for the medical community to realize these fungi are essentially everywhere these days and that we need to take them seriously and include them in considering diagnoses.”

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