Acute histoplasmosis in immunocompetent travelers: A systematic review of literature

Silvia Staffolani, Dora Buonfrate, Andrea Angheben, Federico Gobbi, Giovanni Giorli, Massimo Guerriero, Zeno Bisoffi, Francesco Barchiesi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection highly endemic in the American continent. The disease can be severe in immunocompromised subjects. In immunocompetent subjects the clinical manifestations are variable. Aim of this work was to review the cases of acute histoplasmosis in immunocompetent travelers reported in literature. Methods: A systematic review of literature was conducted. Electronic search was performed in Pubmed and LILACS. Two reviewers independently extracted data on demographic, clinical and radiological features, and treatment. Cases were classified according to Wheat's definitions. Results: Seventy-one studies were included in the analysis, comprising a total of 814 patients. Twenty-one patients diagnosed at the Centre of Tropical Diseases, Negrar (VR), Italy were also included. The most common travel destination was Central America (168 people, 29.8%); the most common way of exposure to histoplasma was the exploration of caves and/or contact with bat guano (349 people, 60.9%). The multivariate logistic regression model showed association between the development of disseminated histoplasmosis (DH) and activities that involved the exploration of caves and/or the contact with bats' guano (adjusted OR: 34.20 95% CI: 5.29 to 220.93) or other outdoor activities (adjusted OR: 4.61 95% CI: 1.09 to 19.56). No significant difference in the attack rate between countries of destination was observed (p-value: 0.8906, Kruskal-Wallis test). Conclusions: Histoplasmosis often causes no or mild symptoms in immunocompetent individuals, although a severe syndrome may occur. The infection can mimic other diseases, and the epidemiological risk of exposure is an important clue to raise the index of suspicion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number673
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 18 2018


  • Acute
  • Histoplasma
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Immunocompetent
  • Travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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