New Delhi: A 70-year-old man developed a rare fungal infection 30 years after he was exposed to it.
According to a case study, the infection lingered in the man’s body for 30 years before it actually appeared in his brain.
The man was diagnosed with histoplasmosis, an infection caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum.
While inhaling the spores doesn’t make everyone sick, the case study reported in the journal BMJ Case Reports says that this man may have been more vulnerable to the infection because he was a heart-transplant recipient.
The transplant may have reactivated the histoplasmosis infection, said Carol Kauffman, an infectious-disease expert at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System in the US.
Medications taken after the organ transplant – that prevents the body from attack the new organ – lowered the man’s immunity and allowed the fungal spores that lay dormant in his body to grow again, Kauffman told Live Science.
The man learned of his infection when he went to see infectious-disease experts at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson because he had been feeling confused for four days, according to the case report.
Brain scans of the man’s head revealed abnormal tissue, leading doctors to think that he might have had a tumour.
The doctors then performed a biopsy of the adrenal glands located on top of a person’s kidneys and found areas of inflamed, dead tissue, which can be a symptom of histoplasmosis, according to the case report.