Histoplasmosis is a common lung infection caused by microscopic fungal spores that reside in soil. Most people who inhale the spores don’t get sick, but for those with weakened immune systems, the infection can become severe. About 90 percent of Middle Tennessee residents have had histoplasmosis exposure in their lifetime.
Previous maps show high prevalence rates in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. But recent outbreaks in Montana and Nebraska suggest the infection is spreading.
This week in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, Stephen Deppen, PhD, and colleagues describe a new map showing current geographic conditions suitable for histoplasmosis growth. The map predicts the same mid- to high-incidence areas reported by recent government surveys.