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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2002 Jan 4;127(1-2):21-5.

[Histoplasmosis group disease in bat researchers returning from Cuba].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Tropenmedizin und Infektionskrankheiten, Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin, Universität Rostock.



Four males (age 25 to 40 years) and one female (age 25) were admitted to our hospital almost simultaneously with symptoms of fever up to 38 degrees C, dry cough, thoracodynia, dyspnoea, myalgia and arthralgia. All patients belonged to a team of eight German bat researchers who had returned from Cuba 10 days before, where they had investigated bats in caves. Another member of the team had only mild histoplasmosis and was followed in our outpatient clinic. Two scientists who wore their breathing masks continuously during their work in the caves did not fall ill.


Chest X-rays of all in-patients showed pulmonary infiltrates correlating with the severity of their illness. In all patients specific IgG antibodies against Histoplasma capsulatum-antigen were found in the Western Blot assay, confirming the diagnosis of histoplasmosis.


Treatment with oral itraconazole 200 mg b.d was given to four inpatients for 6 weeks, in the fifth patient itraconazole was discontinued because of an increase of liver transaminases.


Antimycotic treatment of advancing histoplasmosis seems appropriate also in immunocompetent patients. The high number of patients within this group suggests high numbers of Histoplasma capsulatum in the caves. Wearing breathing masks throughout the work in the caves may prevent histoplasmosis even in case of high infectious doses. Pre-travel recommendations for cave researchers have to emphasize the continuous use of breathing masks and vaccination against tetanus and rabies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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