Histoplasmosis, a potentially fatal fungal disease, and Remicade or Humira or immunosuppression and


May 13, 2015
Please take this warning seriously! If you are taking Remicade, Humira, or other biologic drugs that warn about certain fungal infections, please DO NOT CLEAN THE CHICKEN COOP YOURSELF! And minimize your contact with their droppings!

I was on Remicade and thus my immune system was suppressed, and did not realize that histoplasmosis, a fungus that causes a potentially fatal disease in people with suppressed immune systems, grows in chicken poop. My soon-to-be-ex-husband and I got backyard chickens May 2014. I got sick in September 2014, and the histoplasmosis infection finally got bad enough that they could diagnose it in May 2015. If my doctor had not insisted on hospitalizing me, I might not have gotten the treatment I needed, and I could have died!

Please, if you are on Remicade, Humira, or any similar drugs, if you develop a fever, see your doctor immediately. Tell him/her that you have backyard chickens, and may have picked up histoplasmosis. They may have to test a few times, and do multiple CT scans a few months apart. My first CT scan in October 2014 was completely normal, by May 2015 I had spots on my spleen and lungs, and some evidence of it in my intestines.

Please take this seriously, if you are immunosuppressed for any reason, medication or disease, stay away from the chicken poo!
So sorry, and I hope you are recovering well! We all need to wear a very good face mask when coop cleaning, because it's a risk for anyone. Someone who's immune suppressed for any reason should always wear a face mask in the coop too. Mary
I'm an immune suppressed stem cell transplant recipient, looking to go home in about 2 weeks. My docs said no closed contact with chickens period until Sept. Sigh.
Thanks for the warning. Even healthy people can get histoplasmosis - my father caught it from cleaning a well-kept coop when he was a healthy, athletic teenager, and ended with scarring in his lungs. Filter masks (not dust masks) can be a good idea when cleaning the coop if you live in risky areas, like Folly's place said.
This thread is old but I thought I’d add some info.,, I have an eye disease called CSR so I was at the specialist yesterday to check how it’s going and was told I also have ocular histoplasmosis. I had never heard of histoplasmosis before this. So I must have it in my lungs, doc said it can break away and get into the eyes. An other wise healthy person don’t know they have it.
There's exposure to the organism, and there's EXPOSURE to huge numbers of the critters, and/ or being immunocompromised in some way, or just plain unlucky. Folks living in the Ohio River valley are at higher risk too.
It seems to be difficult to diagnose, so effective treatment is delayed, which is bad.
The most important thing to do is to wear that N95 or better face mask out there!

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