Gastrointestinal Histoplasmosis: A Case Series

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Histoplasmosis is an invasive mycosis caused by inhalation of the spores of dimorphic fungi Histoplasma capsulatum. The disease manifests in the lung as acute or chronic pulmonary histoplasmosis and in severe cases gets disseminated in multiple organs like skin, adrenal gland, central nervous system, lymph node, liver, spleen, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal tract. It occurs most commonly in immunodeficient patients like HIV-positive patients and transplant recipients, while immunocompetent hosts are affected rarely. In cases of gastrointestinal histoplasmosis, the samples are collected for culture and biopsy should be sent for histopathological examination for definitive diagnosis. We conducted a retrospective study of colonic biopsies performed in the department of gastroenterology in a tertiary care hospital of north India from January 2014 to December 2015. Five cases of colonic histoplasmosis were diagnosed on histopathology out of which 4 patients were from north India while 1 patient was from Myanmar. The patients presented with various complaints, including loose stools, diarrhea, altered bowel habits, and gastrointestinal bleeding. The prognosis is very good after early and aggressive treatment while the disease is fatal if it remains untreated. In our study, 2 patients died within few days of diagnosis due to delay in the diagnosis, dissemination, and associated complications. Other patients were started on amphotericin B deoxycholate and are under follow-up. An early diagnosis of gastrointestinal histoplasmosis is important as appropriate treatment leads to long-term survival while untreated cases are almost fatal.

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