Histoplasmosis in Belize, Central America

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  • Ministry of Health, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, Mycology Division, Bureau of Laboratories, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Belize, C.A.

After two small outbreaks of histoplasmosis in Belize, an epidemiologic survey was carried out. Forty percent of 141 persons in two groups tested demonstrated a positive histoplasmin reaction. In one study group there was a significant association between visiting caves and histoplasmin positivity. Histoplasma capsulatum was not isolated in 20 soil specimens collected from outbreak-associated caves, but was isolated from 1 of 26 bats collected from the same caves. The presence of histoplasmosis in Belize, C.A. is documented, and this disease should be considered in differential diagnosis in patients, both residents and visitors in Belize, with compatible clinical presentations.