Fact sheet - Health conditions directory.
Histoplasmosis is caused by a soil-based fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. The Histoplasma organism is found in soil with high organic content and undisturbed bird and bat droppings, for example in and around old chicken houses, bat caves and pigeon roosts. People usually become infected with histoplasmosis after breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air.
More than 90% of infected people will have no signs of illness at all; some people may develop a mild illness with signs of lung infection; and it can sometimes spread to other parts of the body (disseminated histoplasmosis) and cause severe life threatening illness.
People who have weakened immune systems (i.e. people who have HIV, or have had an organ transplant) are particularly at risk of complications from histoplasmosis which can lead to death, especially if left untreated. Histoplasmosis is a rare infection in Australia. Cases have been found in all states of Australia apart from Tasmania, with most reported cases in Queensland and New South Wales. The organism can be found world wide.
Public health management guidelines
Enhanced surveillance for public health units
Case report form (PDF,504kB) - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance.