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This infection is caused by a fungus present in the soil contaminated with bat or bird droppings, particularly in eastern and central United States as well as in Mexico. It gets in the air when the soil is disturbed, such as when people explore caves. It is not passed from person to person.

Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • weight loss
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • abdominal pain

Histoplasmosis can be quite serious but is treatable with antibiotics, which need to be continued until the immune system has improved with HIV treatment. Long-term suppression with antibiotics may be required if the disease relapses.