Histoplasmosis and Why It Is a Public Health Concern

September 14, 2015

What is Histoplasmosis- Histoplasmosis is an infection that is transmitted airborne from fungus spores. The infection is contracted after breathing the fungus spores into the lungs. The origin of this fungus is from droppings from bats and also birds. The fungus spores can also live in the soil causing it to be even more dangerous to people that work with the land.

 

A lot of people never develop any symptoms and never know they even have the disease. The fungus spores mostly lay in the soil until they are elevated airborne. This is a big concern for people like farmers who are more susceptible to the infection. The infection is found more commonly in humid areas. Even though many people never have the symptoms of this infection it can be more dangerous to babies and those with a weak immune system.

 

What are some of the Symptoms- The symptoms can surface in two weeks’ time and include?

 

Chills, Fever, coughs and achy muscles. The symptoms are said to resemble Tuberculosis. The symptoms are more severe for people with weak immune systems. With the spread of the infection it can move throughout the body causing even death. People with Aids or others with a weak immune system are more susceptible to developing the symptoms and having it spread to different parts of the body.

 

What is the Treatment for Histoplasmosis- If you have a mild case that is just contained in the lungs then it will run its course in about a month. There is no reason to pursue treatment for this mild case. If you have a case that has become more severe and spread throughout the body then there are antifungal medicines available to treat the infection. The treatments can last up to three months.

 

What is the chance of fatality with this disease if left untreated- Mild cases will clear up on their own within a few months’ time. The more severe cases with the spreading throughout the body can have a fatality rate of as much as fifty percent.

 

How can Histoplasmosis be prevented-Stay away from areas where the bird or bat droppings might occur? This includes where the bats live like caves, attics and where you have a roost. Also stay away from areas where there are any droppings. Rid the area of any suspected bird droppings and stay clear. When cleaning up the area wear a mask to keep from breathing the airborne spores. If you have a nesting population of birds or bats, have them removed from the area by a professional who is trained in this area.

 

Staying away from where Bats are found- Be careful and alert when exploring caves as there can be millions of bats in a single cave. If possible avoid caves that are infested with bats. When spending time in the outdoors stay protected with screening to keep from being exposed to bats.

 

What To Do If you Suspect Bats In your House-There are some steps to take if you are trying to capture a stray bat but the likelihood of there being more bats roosting in your house are very good. This is why you need a professional animal control specialist, specifically a bat removal expert, who knows how to handle these kinds of animals. With the uniqueness of these animals it is better to find a specialist who is trained specifically in the removal of bats.

 

How to Live Safe In A World with Bats- Being aware of your surroundings and understanding where bats can potentially live can do a lot to keep from becoming infected with Histoplasmosis. Contrary to some beliefs bats do not seek out to attack us. They are peaceful animals that keep to themselves. Bats also serve a special purpose in nature. They consume a very large number of insects which is why they produce a large quantity of bird droppings. Bats are very beneficial to farmers all over the world because they help keep the insects from eating all their crops. In some parts of the world bats are even becoming extinct. Learning to be aware of these creatures and living in harmony with them can help reduce the risk of Histoplasmosis.

 

Workers Who Are More At risk- Certain types of workers are more at risk than others. Knowing about these risk factors can help to reduce the number of incidents of Histoplasmosis. The chance of these fungus spores becoming airborne in these kind of occupations is much greater. Some of these occupations include chimney sweeps, farmers, gardeners, HVAC technicians, roofers, pest control specialists, historic building restorers along with others who come in close contact with this type of fungus spores.

 

How to deal with a roosting of bats on your roof or property-Posting a health risk sign -warning is one of the first steps to take while you are waiting for a professional animal control specialist to come and remove the bats. This is so no one wanders into this area and has no idea of what is going on.

 

What parts of the country are more susceptible to contracting Histoplasmosis? The Eastern and Central states have a higher risk of being infected. This is because of the rich and high nutrient content of the soil that is enriched with bird droppings.

 

If you suspect bats on your property call a professional bat removal expert who is trained in this area of animal and bat control. They can safely remove the bats from your property. Be aware of any bat roosting areas like in nearby trees and other high up areas on your property. Act quickly to have them removed and post warning signs where needed.

 

Bats Away is your local bat control company that provides residential bat control and commercial bat control.  Call us today for all of your bat problems.  

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