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February 1960

Cave Disease or Speleonosis

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1960;105(2):181-183. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.00270140003001

That histoplasmosis may originate from the inhalation of dust from caves is more than suggested by reports from the United States, South Africa, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, and Venezuela. The first report was that of Cain et al. who, in May, 1947, described an unusual pulmonary disease which occurred in March, 1944, involving 26 men who spent some time in an abandoned storm cellar at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. A dead opossum was found near the entrance to the cellar. The period of incubation was 11 days. The illness began with malaise, muscular aching, and fatigue, followed in 24 hours by a chill with re-mitting fever, sweating, constricting pain in the chest, cough, and epistaxis. The physical findings consisted of scattered areas of dullness over the lungs, with diminished breath sounds and occasional rales. X-rays of the lungs showed numerous small areas of infiltration 1 to 20 mm. in diameter scattered