An Epidemic of Histoplasmosis in Venezuela

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  • Servicio de Laboratorio, Hospital Central and Sanatorio Antituberculoso, Barquisimeto, Venezuela


The serious illness, due to a pulmonary mycosis, of two members of a group which had been exploring a cave in the State of Lara, Venezuela, led to an examination of 10 other members of the group, all of whom gave positive reactions to histoplasmin, with confirmatory chest x-rays in 5 cases, and positive complement fixation tests in 7. Soil samples were taken from various parts of the cave, from 5 of which 4 cultures of Histoplasma capsulatum were obtained. In a second group of 5 visitors to the cave, one new case developed in the only member negative to histoplasmin prior to the visit, in spite of a respirator mask which he wore. The clinical and x-ray pictures, the appearance of complement-fixation antibodies, and the conversion of a negative to a positive histoplasmin reaction proved this to be a case of primary pulmonary histoplasmosis.