This website provides information needed to understand and prevent work-related histoplasmosis in the United States. It is intended to help readers understand what histoplasmosis is and recognize activities that might expose workers to Histoplasma. It also informs readers about methods they can use to protect themselves and others from exposure.
This website updates content from the NIOSH booklet Histoplasmosis — Protecting Workers at Risk, which was originally published in 1997, revised in 2005, and is now archived.
This website is intended for:
- Workers who may be exposed to Histoplasma
- Employers responsible for the health and safety of these workers
- Federal, state, local, and tribal public health officials
- Occupational health and safety professionals
- Environmental health consultants
Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Histoplasma. The fungus lives in the environment, particularly in soil that contains large amounts of bird or bat droppings. People can get histoplasmosis after breathing in the microscopic fungal spores (also known as conidia) from the air. Although most people who breathe in the spores don’t get sick, those who do may have a fever, cough, and fatigue. Many people who get histoplasmosis will get better on their own without medication. In some people, the infection can become severe and spread from the lungs to other parts of the body such as the eyes and the lymph nodes. This is more common in people with weakened immune systems or other medical conditions.