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Indianapolis' histoplasmosis outbreak appears to be over, but Indiana University School of Medicine investigators are urging physicians to be alert for long-term sequelae.
The 1978-1979 outbreak claimed 15 lives (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 242:1010, 1979). Before it subsided, 435 histoplasmosis cases were confirmed serologically. The actual total may be much higher, says L. Joseph Wheat, MD, because persons with few or no symptoms were unlikely to see a physician.
Wheat is an assistant professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the medical school, which cooperated with local, state, and federal officials in the investigation. He and co-workers are reminding area physicians that possible sequelae of histoplasmosis include fibrous mediastinitis, constrictive pericarditis, chronic obstructive, fibrotic, or cavitary lung disease, presumed ocular histoplasmosis (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 243:626-627, 1980), and, of course, recurrent histoplasmosis, which may be caused by fluctuations in the infected person's immunity to Histoplasma capsulatum.
The source of the Indianapolis
Gunby P. Histoplasmosis follow-up. JAMA. 1980;243(11):1130. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300370010003