Will the spores on my lungs become active in the future?

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A question from one of our Facebook users:

I have histoplasmosis and it affected one eye about 35 years ago. My grandparents had a farm in Kentucky. I have multiple spores on my lungs (dormant since the 1950's)and am curious about whether or not they will become active in the future.

2 Answers

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They are highly unlikely to become active. Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Histoplasma. The fungus lives in the environment, particularly in soil that contains large amounts of bird or bat droppings. In the United States, Histoplasma mainly lives in the central and eastern states, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys.

Most of infected patients have no symptoms. During a chest X-ray or CT scan, multiple nodules or lesions that are caused by histoplasmosis can be identified. In general, the lesion would be dormant because it has been calcified.

If you have compromised immune systems, the spores in your lungs may become active. If you've had histoplasmosis, you can get it again. However, if you do get it again, the illness will likely be milder the second time.