When a man sought medical attention at a hospital because he had been feeling as if though he was in an “altered mental status”, doctors first suspected he was suffering from cancer. Brain scans showed a lesion, so the physicians presumed the presence of a malignant brain tumor.
After carrying out a series of tests, they also detected visible masses in his adrenal glands. So, why did they not suspect a fungal infection?
Histoplasmosis – Not Cancer
A fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum causes this fungal infection, which is mostly contracted via inhalation.
However, as this fungus is mostly only found in certain geographical areas, the condition is rather uncommon. What’s more, the patient in question had not traveled to areas where this fungus is present, for many years. As a result, the doctors did initially not suspect it.
Nonetheless, after doing a biopsy on the adrenal gland masses, it became obvious that the man was suffering from histoplasmosis rather than cancer.
Further investigations revealed that the man had traveled to a histoplasmosis-area, 30 years before the condition developed.
What Is Significant About this Case?
The doctors treating the man in question pointed to a 2016 report on histoplasmosis in which experts discuss the presence of this fungal infection in nonendemic areas.
Whereas prior to that point, physicians may not have considered the possibility of a patient presenting with this condition in a nonendemic area, it now seems necessary to investigate this possibility.
Immunocompromised patients seem to be at particular risk of developing this potentially dangerous fungal infection.
No doubt, diagnosing fungal infections has become a major topic of conversation among medical professionals.