Although histoplasmosis typically begins with mild symptoms, common symptoms include chest and joint pain, rashes, fever and shortness of breath, according to MedlinePlus. For patients with compromised immune systems, severe symptoms such as inflammation of tissues surrounding the heart and lung infections may occur.
Severe histoplasmosis affects babies and individuals with weakened immune systems and is fatal without treatment, explains Mayo Clinic. Individuals who develop chronic histoplasmosis may experience more serious symptoms, including bloody cough and weight loss. To diagnose a patient with histoplasmosis, a doctor may perform an X-ray or take blood, urine or tissue samples. For most patients, histoplasmosis does not have to be treated with special medications, notes Mayo Clinic. Patients who experience worsening or prolonged symptoms take antifungal medications, especially people who have symptoms for longer than several weeks.
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that affects the lungs and is caused by the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. Individuals who are exposed to rich soils or bird or bat droppings are at high risk of developing histoplasmosis, although the infection is not transmitted between people. Living in or visiting areas east of the Mississippi exposes individuals to a greater risk of getting histoplasmosis, according to MedlinePlus.