Considerations for Healthcare & Public Health Professionals

Healthcare providers should consider histoplasmosis as a diagnosis in patients with a compatible illness who have occupations or participate in activities exposing them to soil that contains bird or bat droppings, particularly in areas where Histoplasma is common.

Testing for histoplasmosis

The most common way that healthcare providers test for histoplasmosis is by taking a blood sample or a urine sample and sending it to a laboratory for testing. These tests can detect Histoplasma antibodies or antigen. Other methods that healthcare providers use to diagnose histoplasmosis include taking a sample of fluid from the patient’s respiratory tract or a tissue biopsy to examine under a microscope or see if Histoplasma will grow in culture from these samples. Healthcare providers might also do imaging tests such as chest x-rays or CT scans. Find more information about the specific types of tests for histoplasmosis and their advantages and disadvantages at Information for Healthcare Professionals about Histoplasmosis.

Determining a work-related case

Determining whether a histoplasmosis case is work-related can be difficult if the case is not clearly associated with an outbreak. Healthcare providers should ask patients with histoplasmosis about their occupation, work activities, and other outdoor activities. In certain states, healthcare providers and laboratories must report histoplasmosis cases to public health authorities. Collecting information about industry and occupation as part of routine public health surveillance for histoplasmosis is also important for identifying work-related histoplasmosis.