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Rabbit Tracks: An endemic fungus was the culprit after all

By Robert Smith

I finally figured out what caused all of my problems.  It is something that all my family has, but in a dormant state. Likely, they are not aware of it.
It came to me in my sleep the other night.  The doctors here were not able to figure it out.How could something affect your lungs, heart and intestines all at the same time?
It comes from the fact that we grew up in a particular geographic area.  The doctors were looking at bacteria and viruses.  The problem is that it’s a fungus.
You can look it up with Google – the name of the fungus is Histoplasmosis (See more information, see below).  People who live in the Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio river Basins all  have it – and I mean everyone.
It is a fungus endemic to the region.  In most cases symptoms are mild and small calcifications form on the lungs and remain dormant for years until something triggers them to life.
For years, radiologists used to think I had TB until I informed them that they were calcifications.  Older and wiser doctors would ask me where I grew up and then they knew what it was.
My little brother and I definitely had it from working in the dusty fields and cleaning out chicken coops without a mask of any kind.  To top it off, we had to sleep in a damp, moldy bed in the basement.
Anyone who grew up in our area has a chest cavity full of time bombs. If you go to the hospital for the flu or pneumonia, have them do a test for fungus, too.  Antibiotics will not kill the fungus.  Regular medicines for yeast infections like Fluconazole will work.
Don’t mean to scare you.  I just want to for warn you.

– Bob

Robert Smith is a 1957 Richmond High School graduate. He now lives on Florida’s West Coast.

More about Histoplasmosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects.
Soil contaminated by bird or bat droppings also can transmit histoplasmosis, so farmers and landscapers are at a higher risk of the disease. In the United States, histoplasmosis most commonly occurs in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys.
Most people with histoplasmosis never develop symptoms and aren’t aware they’re infected. But for some people — primarily infants and those with compromised immune systems — histoplasmosis can be serious. Effective treatments are available for even the most severe forms of histoplasmosis.

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