PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
It's difficult to prevent exposure to the fungus that causes histoplasmosis, especially in areas where the disease is widespread. Even so, these steps can help reduce the risk of infection:
- Avoid exposure. If your immune system is compromised, avoid renovation projects that might expose you to contaminated soil. Likewise, cave exploring and raising birds — such as pigeons or chickens — aren't advised.
- Spray contaminated soil. Before you work in or dig soil that's likely to harbor the fungus that causes histoplasmosis, spray it thoroughly with water. This can help prevent spores from being released into the air. Spraying chicken coops and barns before cleaning them also can reduce your risk.
- Use an effective face mask. One of the best ways to protect yourself from soil-borne organisms if you must work in contaminated areas or in caves known to harbor bats is to wear a respirator mask. Consult with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to determine which type of mask will provide adequate protection for your level of exposure.
- Histoplasmosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/histoplasmosis. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Kaufman CA. Histoplasmosis. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Wheat J, et al. Pathogenesis and clinical features of pulmonary histoplasmosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Hage CH, et al. Histoplasmosis: Introduction. In: Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Fort GG, et al. Histoplasmosis. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Davies SF, et al. Fungal infections: Histoplasmosis. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Histoplasmosis: Protecting workers at risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-109. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Van Duin D. Histoplasmosis. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.