Causative Agent

Histoplasmosis is caused by the dimorphic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. This organism prefers to grow in soils contaminated by bat or bird droppings, but it is not pathogenic for these animals. In pus or tissue from people with active disease, H. capsulatum is a tiny oval yeast that grows within host macrophages (figure 23.26a). Contrary to its name, the fungus is not encapsulated. The mold form of the organism characteristically produces two kinds of spores: large conidia, which often have numerous projecting knobs (figure 23.26b) and tiny pear-shaped or spherical conidia.

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