Blastomycosis and histoplasmosis are both fungal infections that a person can acquire by breathing in spores from the air. However, the two conditions have different treatment pathways.
The fungus Blastomyces causes blastomycosis. This fungus lives in moist soil with decomposing material such as leaves and wood. In the United States, it
The Histoplasma fungus causes histoplasmosis. It occurs in soils that contain a large amount of bird or bat droppings. It is
These two conditions can cause similar symptoms, but half or more people with exposure to either fungus will not develop symptoms. People with either condition may need antifungal treatments to get rid of the infection.
This article reviews the similarities and differences between these two fungal infections, including their symptoms, causes, treatments, and more.
Both blastomycosis and histoplasmosis affect the lungs. They have similar symptoms to other lung infections and conditions.
Symptoms can include:
In people with weakened immune systems, the infection may spread to other areas of the body, such as the central nervous system, bones and joints, or skin.
Symptoms can include:
For many people, the symptoms will clear on their own with or without treatment. Those with weakened immune systems may develop a long-term lung infection. The infection may also spread to other areas of the body, such as the central nervous system.
The main difference between the causes of blastomycosis and histoplasmosis is the underlying fungus.
These fungi typically develop in different areas. Blastomyces occurs in moist soil with a lot of decaying leaves and wood in the midwestern, south-central, and southeastern United States. Histoplasma occurs in soil with a lot of bird or bat droppings, often in the central and eastern states.
A person can contract either type of fungus by breathing in fungal spores after the soil becomes disturbed.
While these fungi are most common in the midwestern, southeastern, and eastern United States, a person may come into contact with them outside of these regions.
Blastomycosis and histoplasmosis have
- A healthcare professional will perform a physical examination and review of health information. This will likely include asking about medical history, symptoms, and travel history.
- If a healthcare professional suspects a fungal infection, they will likely run a urine or blood test to check for the fungus.
- They will send the sample to a lab for a culture, which will show whether either fungus is responsible for the symptoms.
For either condition, test results may take a
A healthcare professional may also order imaging, such as an X-ray or a CT scan, to examine the lungs.
Both blastomycosis and histoplasmosis may require antifungal treatment, but the exact medication can vary.
Most people who develop blastomycosis
In both cases, the length of treatment depends on the severity of the infection and the immune system’s ability to fight off the infection.
Most people who receive treatment for either condition will recover.
According to the
A person should continue their treatment for the recommended amount of time to help ensure proper recovery from either infection. If treatment does not seem to be helping, they should talk with a healthcare professional.
Blastomycosis and histoplasmosis are similar fungal infections that start in the lungs. A person can develop either condition after inhaling fungal spores from soil or decaying material. Both types of fungus are common in the eastern, southeastern, and midwestern United States.
The two conditions cause similar symptoms and can spread to other areas of the body. They also have similar treatments, and most people will recover from either condition.
Diagnosis will typically involve a physical examination, review of recent travel, and a culture of blood or urine to check for the fungus. Proper treatment can help ensure that a person fully recovers.