[Outbreaks of occupational acquired histoplasmosis in La Habana province].Rev Cubana Med Trop. 2010 Jan-Apr; 62(1):68-72.RC
histoplasmosis, an infection caused by Histoplasma capsulatum fungus, is considered as one of the main endemic infections in the American continent where there are frequent epidemic outbreaks. Most of the outbreaks have been associated to risky activities in bat-inhabited places. This paper presented two outbreaks of occupational acquired histoplasmosis occurred in La Habana province.
one hundred and sixteen workers, who performed aerosol-generating tasks in caves, were studied. Samples from the cave soils were taken to assess the existence of the causal agent. Clinical and epidemiological data were gathered for the outbreak characterization.
the rates of infection for both outbreaks were 60 % and 78 % respectively. The patients aged 16 to 64 years; additionally, the onset of main clinical manifestations (fever, general malaise, cough, headache, loss of weight, and chest pain) ranged from 10 to 20 days. Histoplasmosis was microbiologically and serologically diagnosed whereas its source of infection was confirmed through H. capsulatum isolation in those places where extensive excavation work had been carried out, resulting in abundant aerosols for up to 21d periods. The similarity between the two outbreaks was the performance of aerosol-generating tasks in risky places without using appropriate safety devices.
It is necessary to disseminate the existing preventive measures among the health care staff and the risky groups as well as the general population in order to prevent and take control of possible histoplasmosis outbreaks in the future.