Cuba: Histoplasmosis outbreak in Artemisa


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The following report came from El Artemisino (computer translator):

After a religious activity in Ruinas del Cafetal Angerona, municipality of Artemisa, an outbreak of histoplasmosis occurred in the reservoir area, in which a total of 43 people were exposed, of which only nine were not infected, and of those 34 who contracted the disease, seven are children.

Histoplasma capsules / CDC

Raymundo Verde, Head of the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology at Artemisa, stated that “the event occurred on January 29, and the study and control focus began on February 22, when those infected went to the hospital, before the onset of symptoms, such as headache, muscle pain, intermittent fever … that could appear between three and 17 days after exposure.

This infectious disease is produced by inhalation of spores of the fungus, the causative agent Histoplasma capsules It is present in bat feces, and can cause difficult-to-treat pneumonia. In the area of ​​cisterns or caves there are ancient water deposits, this fungus grows in soils enriched by the guano of mammals and where infected people have been in contact.

From the provincial capital “35 people were infected and 26 (74.2%) were infected, nine were hospitalized, the same number remained asymptomatic, under observation. Those admitted are receiving care in the hospitals of San Cristobal and Artemisa. Nine sputas and 13 monoceras were also taken, which have been transferred to the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) for analysis.”

Verdi says that the measures in the face of this possibility are “the use of a mask on site, the avoidance of soil removal with the presence of excrement, the avoidance – above all – of entering the cavernous area as a precaution and, in the case of staff working, in the National Monument which is located about 6 km kilometers from the provincial capital, duly wetting the walls with water and hypochlorite.”

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Even, “a yellow ribbon has already been put in place to contain the passage of people and coordinate with Flora and Fauna to move forward in closing the contaminated buildings permanently.”

Apparently – according to the patients themselves – the permission to hold this ceremony was obtained from the culture, although, as the epidemiologist comments, it is more about heritage or flora and fauna.

In any case, it is an atypical event, since the people affected are usually geologists and speleologists, or individuals who specialize in extracting guano for use as fertilizer.

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